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'Growth without jobs?' Rahul Gandhi asks Centre during outreach programme


New Delhi, Feb 19: There is talk of growth without any jobs and the government is "funding big guys" when it is the small and medium business people that can create employment, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday.

Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi, during an interaction with small and medium business people as part of his outreach initiative 'Apni baat Rahul ke saath', also said the small and medium businesses were producing jobs, but not getting the funding they needed.

During the discussion, the common problem that emerged was "poor GST implementation and the monthly reporting mandated by its implementation", a statement said.

Amid no jobs chorus, govt claims over 3.79 lakh new jobs in central government depts

Gandhi has been attacking the government over the implementation of the GST, terming it "Gabbar Singh Tax".

"When you listen to TV debates, everybody talks about growth, 'India is growing at 6%, 7%, 8%', but nobody talks about jobs. Where are the jobs? You can have growth with no jobs, which is what is happening right now," he said during the interaction over a south Indian thali lunch at Andhra Bhawan here.

Asserting that non-performing assets (NPAs) are not coming from small and medium businesses, the Congress chief alleged that the "government is funding the big guys, but they are not producing jobs".

The small businesses are producing jobs, but don't get the funding they want, he said.

"How many jobs did Nirav Modi give India? Not much. But India gave him Rs 35,000 crore. This is a symptom of what is going on," Gandhi claimed.

"Nobody can compete with China except us. And, there's huge amount of wealth and benefit that can be made, if we do it successfully. And, I think, frankly, the people who can do it are the people like you (small and medium business people). Because you are the people who can create jobs," he told the traders present.

Gandhi's outreach initiative started earlier this month when he met a group of seven youngsters from Delhi, Assam, Maharashtra, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. The interaction on Tuesday included a range of business men and women, from a solar power entrepreneur to an IIT graduate, and from a small hotel owner in Kargil to an entrepreneur from Meghalaya.

Sanjay Patwardhan, a solar energy entrepreneur from Indore who was present at the interaction, said: "When I gave him a suggestion, he immediately called Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath and made me speak to him.The CM asked me to meet him."

"He (Gandhi) heard us very patiently... he's serious about finding quick resolution to people's problems," Khalid Ghulam Mohammad, a hotel owner in Kargil, who was also present at the interaction, said.

Suhani Mohan, a businesswoman from Mumbai, said: "We were told that we'll meet a senior Congress leader, but to our pleasant surprise, Mr. Gandhi came himself."

The issues discussed at the interaction included bad quality of infrastructure, opacity in customs duty on raw material, difficulties in raising credit, lack of incentives, and problems related to accessing government subsidies, the statement said.

The interaction is part of the Congress party's manifesto making exercise for the general elections which is being built with feedback from hundreds of stake holder groups across the country.


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