P Chidambaram draws parallel; How Obama heard Manmohan, to Ayushman Bharat and demonetisation

Last Updated: Thu, Aug 30, 2018 13:27 hrs

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in a file picture.

New Delhi: Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday drew a parallel between demonetisation, and the economic consultation for implementing a surprise reform.

PC was addressing a National Students Union of India event in the national capital, and said, "Show me one economist anywhere in the world who stood up and said demonetisation was a good thing. Not one."

According to him the Chief Economic Adviser was not consulted.

"On the day PM announced demonetisation, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian was in Kerala. He was not in Delhi. He was not event consulted. He didn't know that demonetisation is taking place. If CEA doesn't know, what kind of an economy is this?" questioned PC.

On November 8, 2016, the BJP-led Centre invalidated Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes, suggesting that it was a crackdown on the shadow economy and use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activities and terrorism.

The move was criticised by several Opposition parties.

Earlier this month, a recent study by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) noted that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been adversely hit by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll-out and demonetisation, which had a significant impact on the overall credit of the sector.

On Ayushman Bharat

Chidambaram also raised concerns over the centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme.

"Ayushman Bharat is an insurance based model."

"Government says it will pay the premium... Is that the right model for India? I don't think so."

"The right model for India is the one practiced in Europe - vast expansion of public facilities, more public hospitals, more super specialities, more tertiary hospitals, more dist level hospitals, more primary health centers, more doctors and nurses, more beds and free public health care."

"That's the way you can treat our 130 crore people. You can't go by an insurance model," Chidambaram said.

He added, "Insurance model has been a complete failure anywhere in the world. Even in America, Obama Care - an insurance model, has been seriously questioned. America's per capital is 150,000 dollars and our per capital is barely 1,800 dollars. But, who will tell the government that this is a wrong model?"

Listening to the PM:

Chidambaram also asserted that under the former Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh, the Indian economy was "more competent".

In what appears like a parallel to suggest that the opposition is not being consulted, PC highlighted how the former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh was heard out, even by somebody like Barack Obama, the former President of the United States.

"I've seen how President Barack Obama used to sit with Manmohan Singh and listen to him. Not that Obama will accept everything Dr Manmohan Singh says but he wanted to listen to him to know how to run a huge economy," Chidambaram added.

"Today, unfortunately, all decisions are taken by the PMO. That's an open secret. You ask any minister privately. He says, Baba, why are you asking me... PMO... PMO."

"Nobody is allowed to take decisions."

"So, if you have competent hands managing the economy, the economy can go back to 9% growth," said PC.

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