Senior Congress leader L Chidambaram wears a mask inside Parliament during the Budget Session, on March 19, 2020. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma)
Addressing the virtual press conference, Chidambaram claimed Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements on Monday ended up like “dig a mountain and find a mouse”, and an attempt to acquire people to believe that the government is hands-on and responsive to the needs of people as well as economy ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Last Updated: October 13, 2020, 6:05 PM IST
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Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram claimed on Tuesday that the government’s most up-to-date financial package will not stimulate requirement and termed it another “sly attempt” to dazzle people with exaggerated figures.
Addressing a virtual press discussion, Chidambaram said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements with Monday were like “dig a mountain and find a mouse”, in addition to an attempt to lead people to believe that the us govenment is hands-on and responsive to requirements of people and the economy ravaged because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The former financing minister alleged that it is also the admission that the earlier “Rs 20 lakh crore package” must have been a failure and termed it the “hoax”. He also said that because of the latest announcements, the government is trying in order to interfere in people’s lives by way of telling them how to spend their very own money.
“After carefully reading the statement of the finance minister on the so-called stimulus package, I am reminded of the Hindi proverb ‘Khoda Pahaad, Nikla Chuha’ or loosely translated, it means ‘dig a mountain and find a mouse’. “The grand announcement the other day was no stimulus package to push economical growth, it was another sly make an attempt to dazzle the people with exaggerated figures and lead them to believe that the government can be hands-on and responsive to the needs of the testers and the economy,” he told reporters.
The former finance minister said it is also a candid confession that the earlier so-called ‘Rs 20 lakh crore package was a massive failure’. “It was a malfunction because it was a hoax,” he said.
Sitharaman on Monday announced advance payment of a part of wages to central government employees and cash in lieu of LTC to stimulate consumer demand and investment in the economy damaged by the coronavirus pandemic. As much as Rs 11,575 crore would be paid as leave travel concession (LTC) allowance and advance to central government and PSU employees on the condition that they spend on non-essential goods before March 31, she said.
The measures “are very likely to create an additional demand of Rs 73,000 crore,” Sitharaman said, adding the proposals would stimulate demand in a “fiscally wise way.” Chidambaram said the numbers claimed in the package are a “hoax” as the stimulus is not of a value of Rs 73,000 crore, as claimed, but merely 0.1 per cent of GDP, as estimated by some economists.
The Congress leader also alleged that the government is also trying to play the role of “maa-baap” by telling employees what amount and on what goods and when they should spend their own money. “Just as the BJP continues to be telling people what you should eat, what to wear, what language to speak, who also to love, who to marry etc., it is now trying to control people issues spending preferences. This is another item of retrograde interference in people’s life,” he alleged.
Chidambaram lamented that the most deserving people — the bottom half of the families in India — who need the money desperately have once again been left in the cold. “The government stubbornly refuses to create a cash transfer to their accounts like recommended by dozens of economists so when demanded by the Congress and other electoral parties. I am sure they are watching often the government’s pitiful efforts to revive our economy that will register a de-growth involving 10 per cent in 2020-21,” he said.