The Congress on Sunday said that its record in ensuring strong and inclusive economic growth is obvious and dismissed the “fear-mongering” incited by Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah.

The statement came in response to Shah’s remarks about the stock market in an interview with NDTV on May 12. The home minister had said that though the stock market should not be linked to the elections, a stable government helps it perform better.

Shah also claimed that market indices would see a sharp rise after June 4, when the results of the Lok Sabha polls will be declared, and that this would be driven by the poll performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies.

On Sunday, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that economic growth and investments in the country were much higher under the United Progressive Alliance government headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as compared to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two terms in power.

“Private investment and the share of manufacturing as a percentage [of Gross Domestic Product] were much greater under Dr Singh than in the past decade,” said Ramesh. “Self-inflicted policy blunders such as demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax and an ill-planned lockdown played an important role.”

The Congress leader was referring to the BJP government’s 2016 decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. They were withdrawn from circulation in what the government claimed was a move to fight corruption.

Several persons, many of them elderly, had died while standing in long queues to exchange their money as a result of the abrupt move. As millions of families were left stranded with no cash, many even died by suicide after failing to exchange old notes for valid currency.

On the Goods and Services Tax, the Economic Survey 2022-’23 showed that the growth rate of indirect taxes in the new regime had fallen as compared to the previous system of state and central indirect taxes.

Ramesh also referred to the lockdowns imposed by the Centre to curb the spread of Covid-19. Reports had indicated that the nationwide lockdown imposed in March 2020 was one of the “harshest” in the world, resulting in starvation and deaths.

On Sunday, Ramesh also alleged that the atmosphere of “fear and uncertainty” created by the BJP government had also led to the “biggest exodus of wealth creators from India to locations such as Dubai, London and Singapore”.

Quoting the Congress’ manifesto, he said the most important contribution of the INDIA bloc would be to “remove the current environment of distrust and fear, and create a healthy ecosystem where private enterprises, regulatory authorities, tax authorities and government will work in a spirit of mutual cooperation and respect”.

This would be in complete contrast to the BJP government’s “vindictive and arbitrary” approach to monetary police, whose main goal has been to “extort funds, suppress competition against a favoured few and eliminate all freedom in decision-making”, the Congress leader said.

Ramesh added that the INDIA bloc would replace the current Goods and Services Tax system with a Goods and Services Tax 2.0, which would operate as a single and moderate rate of taxation with a few exceptions.