RAIPUR: Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken on Friday said the Centre's recently announced National Monetisation Pipeline and the 2016 demonetisation move were "twin babies" aimed at "looting" the people of the country.
The NMP, announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on August 23, aims to unlock monetary value in brownfield assets across sectors ranging from roads to railways over a four-year period till fiscal 2025.
Addressing a press conference in Rajiv Bhavan, the headquarters of the Chhattisgarh Congress, Maken said, "In the name of development, the Modi government gave birth to twin babies, one was demonetisation and the other one is monetisation. Both are of the same nature."
"While demonetisation (note ban) looted poor and small businessmen, the heritage of the country is now being looted through monetisation. Both were aimed at benefiting a few capitalists. The most shocking and suspicious part is that this (NMP) was decided secretly and announced suddenly, which raises doubts over the intention of the government." he added.
Maken alleged the main objective of NMP was to create a monopoly of a few "selected industrialist friends", adding that sectors like railways, roads, airlines were of strategic importance which "facilitate movement of the defence forces in times of war".
Without naming the BJP, the former Union minister asked if privatising sectors with strategic importance and selling items related to national security to foreign forces directly or indirectly was "nationalism".
The AICC general secretary also said the Centre was lying by claiming the ownership of the assets would remain with the government under NMP.
The Congress-led UPA government had decided that assets with strategic importance would never be privatised nor would they be allowed to pass into the hands of foreign powers in any way, Maken said.
The Congress leader said various state governments had given land on concessional rates to PSUs.
"Since land is a state subject, the Centre should have taken state governments into confidence before announcing the NMP. Their (Centre) intention does not seem right," he added.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel was also present at the press conference.