A candid confession that the earlier so-called ₹20-lakh cr. package was a massive failure, says ex-Finance Minister
Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said the Narendra Modi government’s latest stimulus package was another “sly attempt” to dazzle the people with exaggerated numbers.
Using a Hindi idiom, at a virtual press conference, Mr. Chidambaram said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements on Monday were like “digging a mountain to find a mouse” and asserted that the announcements were an admission that the ₹20-lakh crore Atma Nirbhar package was a ‘hoax’.
“The grand announcement on Monday was no stimulus package to push economic growth. It was another sly attempt to dazzle the people with exaggerated numbers and lead them to believe that the government is hands-on and responsive to their needs and the economy. It is also a candid confession that the earlier so-called ₹20-lakh crore package was a massive failure. It was a failure because it was a hoax.”
He also accused the BJP of adopting a “Maa-Baap” attitude by telling government employees how they should spend their money and on what goods and by when.
“Just as the BJP has been telling people what to eat, what to wear, what language to speak, who to love, who to marry etc., it is now trying to control people on their spending preferences. This is another piece of retrograde interference in people’s lives,” he alleged.
On Monday, Ms. Sitharaman had announced cash in lieu of LTC and an advance payment of a part of wages to the Central government employees to generate consumer demand and claimed that the measures are likely to create an additional demand of ₹73,000 crore.
“The numbers claimed this time too are a hoax. The stimulus is not of a value of ₹73,000 crore. Nor is it of the value of ₹1,00,000 crore — another number that has been thrown at us. The fiscal impact of these announcements is estimated by analysts to be a mere 0.1% of the GDP,” said Mr. Chidambaram.
Reiterating the Congress demand of paying direct cash incentive to the people at the bottom of the income pyramid, he accused the Modi government of “stubbornly refusing” to listen.
“The most deserving people who need the money desperately have again been left in the cold. They are the bottom half of the families in India….I am sure they are watching the government’s pitiful efforts to revive the economy that will register a de-growth of 10% in 2020-21,” he said.
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