Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Wednesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying instead of addressing real concerns, he was again resorting to the rhetoric of 'road to self-reliance' which is "nowhere in sight".
Moily's remarks came a day after Modi, at the CII's annual session, on Tuesday had explained the concept of 'Atma-nirbhar Bharat' or Self-reliant India - one where products are 'Made in India' for the world and a nation that is not dependent on others in strategic sectors.
"The address by the Prime Minister to the CII yesterday is a big joke on the economic distress facing the country. The need of the hour is to have an honest approach to the plight of the people of the country," Moily said in a statement.
In his address prior to 'Lockdown 1', the prime minister said the 'Mahabharata' war was won in 18 days, but the fight against COVID-19 will take 21 days, the Congress leader recalled.
After urging the nation to light candles and 'diyas' for nine minutes at 9 pm to "defeat the despair" brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, all statements thereafter have proved hollow and several such remarks are far away from the truth, the former Union minister said.
Noting that even NITI Aayog gave a report that COVID-19 will not survive beyond May 31, Moily said the confidence of the people is at the lowest.
The relief measures have amounted to only 0.8 per cent of the GDP, leaving the RBI to do the heavy lifting.
The Standard Chartered Bank Plc is projecting a two per cent contraction this year, the ANZ banking group economists have said that "growth in India is clearly under siege" and Moody's downgrade has again exposed the ill-conceived policies of the past, he said.
The credibility of the Indian economy is so low that foreign banks are contemplating selling away Indian loans, the Congress leader said.
Moody's have downgraded PSUs and some private banks and also cut ratings of eight non-financial companies and infrastructure issuers, he said.
"This trend will herald an economic disaster in the country. The number of the affected COVID-19 cases has surged to 2 lakh plus," Moily said.
"The country has not planned to contain this big outrage. The draconian lockdown has resulted in internal migration of the worst character," he said.
The prime minister, instead of addressing the real concerns, has again resorted to "rhetoric of the road to self-reliance which is nowhere in sight", Moily said.
"It is said by an author 'there is a difference between interest and commitment. When you are committed to something you accept no excuses, only result','' he said.
A day after Moody's downgraded India's credit rating to a notch above junk status on growth concerns, Prime Minister Modi had asserted that the country will definitely get back its economic growth and had said reforms undertaken during the lockdown will help the economy in the long-run.
Modi had called on India Inc to rise to the occasion and partner rural India in these testing times.
Moody's Investors Service on Monday downgraded India to the lowest investment grade level and kept it on a negative watch. This was because the country faces a prolonged period of slower growth relative to its potential and rising debt.
It joined S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings in predicting the first contraction in GDP in over four decades and a fiscal deficit blowout as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.