India heading for economic debt trap: Jyotiraditya
Jyotiraditya Scindia, son of late Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia, on Wednesday kept Lok Sabha spellbound as he gave a sterling maiden speech attacking the government for its ''dismal'' performance on many fronts.
Watched by his mother Madhavi Raje, sister Chitrangada and grandmother Rani Indira Rana from the special gallery, the 31-year-old scion of the Gwalior royal family warned that the country could be heading for an ''economic debt trap'' and ''hyper inflation''.
Heard in rapt attention by members from both sides, Jyotiraditya reeled out figures from the Budget proposals, the existing GDP rate and compared it with that of China contending that India was lagging far behind.
Jyotiraditya, who joined the Congress two-and-a-half months after his father was killed in a plane crash, said the fiscal deficit was alarming and foreign direct investment of $4 billion annually to India was too meager considering the potential available.
Regretting the pace of industrial development, he said the ''engine of growth is still sputtering.''
Questioning the nominal hike in the defence Budget, Jyotiraditya, who won the Guna Lok Sabha seat by a record margin of 450,000 votes, wondered whether this was enough in the prevailing environment of dire external threats.
''The need of the hour is to modernise our defence forces,'' he said.
Lambasting the finance minister for imposing the dividend tax, Jyotiraditya said it has hit the middle income salaried class, small investors and senior citizens.
Coming out strongly against the divestment policy, he said a transparent approach in this regard was still awaited.
''The country needs a reforms package with a human face,'' Jyotiraditya, who did his MBA from Stanford, California stressed.
On the agricultural front, he said the government policy was only pushing farmers to suicide, particularly after the hike in the prices of diesel and fertilisers.
Noting that the finance minister has chosen to remain silent on the road map to deal with surplus foodstocks, he said while foodgrains were rotting on one hand, on the other, the country was witnessing starvation deaths.
The government could have embarked on a massive food-for-work programme, he suggested.
Frequent changes and tinkering with policies have put a question mark on the government's credibility, he said adding ''far from a dream Budget, it has given thodi khushi aur bahut zyada gum (little happiness and a lot of distress).''
Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders congratulated Jyotiraditya for his impressive first speech in the House while ruling party members thumped their tables.