New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) Opposition parties on Tuesday accused the Modi government of not fulfilling its promise of ushering in ‘achche din’ (good days) as they attacked it in Lok Sabha over issues like unemployment and farm distress.

The treasury benches countered the charge, saying the macro-economic fundamentals are better than before and the poorest people are the biggest beneficiaries of this government’s policies, but the Congress party does not see good in anything.

The Modi government has “not done anything” in the last four-and-half years and now it was making promises for the future,” Congress member K C Venugopal said while initiating discussion on the Finance Bill 2019.

“What happened to the ‘achche din aayenge’ slogan?” he questioned, and wanted to know why the promises made by the NDA government have not yet been met.

He also charged that Finance Minister Piyush Goyal as member of the Rajya Sabha was not aware of what was happening on the ground, especially with regard to farm distress and unemployment.

Accusing the Congress of suffering from “selective amnesia”, Nishikant Dubey (BJP) said Venugopal should know that Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh were members of Rajya Sabha when they were prime ministers.

Venugopal, Dubey lamented, spoke on the budget though the discussion was on the Finance Bill.

“Those in the wrong, see wrong in everything,” he said, alleging that the Congress-led UPA destroyed the Indian economy in the 10-year long rule from 2004 to 2014.

Dubey also accused the Congress of batting for Eurofighter in the Rafale jet purchase controversy.

Earlier, in his address Venugopal claimed that under the NDA government unemployment has increased, agrarian crisis has worsened and people suffered from general price rise.

The demonetisation of high value currency notes in 2016 had destroyed the small businesses, he alleged, adding the decision of the government created difficulties in all spheres of economy.

“It has been nightmare for people during the last four-and-half years,” the Congress member said.

None of the objectives of demonetisation which included curbing black money, checking terrorism and elimination of fake notes, were met. Instead “all (Vijay) Mallaya and (Nirav) Modi escaped the country”, he alleged.

Ridiculing the farmer income scheme, he said, the government was giving Rs 3 per day to a farmer, whereas the MNREGA, introduced by the UPA government, ensured Rs 200 per day to a labourer.

Venugopal also accused the government of suppressing the unemployment report of NSSO, claiming it showed that joblessness has hit a 45-year high.

He alleged that the Pradham Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has provided “undue benefit” to the insurance company owned by industrialist Anil Ambani.

Raising the Rafale jet deal issue, Venugopal said that government should set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to look into it.

He regretted that Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) initiated “parallel negotiations” with the French government undermining the negotiations being conducted by the Defence Ministry.

The Prime Minister, he added, ought to answer questions being raised with regard to the Rafale jet deal.

Intervening in the discussion, Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons said the economy is in better condition than ever before.

The macro-economic fundamentals are better than before and price rise is at its lowest, the minister said and stressed that the poorest people are the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s policies.

As many as 1.392 crore jobs were created in the tourism sector during the 2014-18 period, the minister said.

Referring to Rafale deal, Alphons, who was a civil servant, said former defence secretary G Mohan Kumar was his batchmate. Without mentioning any detail, the minister said it was the job of the political executive and not bureaucrats to take decisions.

The controversy over Rafale deal has sparked off a political slugfest between the ruling BJP and the Congress.

Participating in the discussions, TMC leader Saugata Roy said the current government is that of “tax terrorism” and that he has not seen any other government that has used the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate as “wantonly”.

“This is a government of jumla (rhetoric),” Roy alleged.

Flagging concerns, BJD member Kalikesh Singh Deo said that “credibility of data has to be above politics” and wanted to know why sops were being given if the country is one of the fastest growing economies.

He also said that persecuting the innocent in tax matters would destroy trust.

While noting that fiscal deficit could go up, Deo also wondered whether doles would continue to be given to farmers without addressing their problems.

As K J Alphons reacted to his observation about jobs, Deo quipped, “How does a minister disturb the House when I am complimenting him.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.