Reiterating that the BJP-led Union government is repackaging old decisions and announcements and presenting it as part of the Rs 20-lakh crore economic package, the Congress on Saturday also opposed and condemned the decision to hike FDI limit in defence manufacturing from 49 per cent to 74 per cent through the automatic route. The party said this will have “serious national security ramifications.”
The Left parties also accused the government of using the pandemic to aggressively pursue neo-liberal economic policies and usher in privatisation in all sectors.
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh and the party’s technology and data cell chairman Praveen Chakravarty questioned the decision to make reform announcements in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We strongly object to privatisation of ordinance factories. What they need is modernisation, and modernisation can be done by new investment, introducing new technologies and adopting best practices,” Vallabh said. Chakravarty said, “Hundreds of migrants are walking back to their home states without food, water and transport…and the Finance Minister makes a proposal for Indians to travel to space. It is very ironical.”
On the Finance Minister’s announcements regarding fiscal stimulus, senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram stated, “In our estimate, the fiscal stimulus part of the 2nd tranche of announcements was Rs 5,000 crore. Most analysts agree. In today’s tranche it is close to zero. Even the FM declined to answer how many of the amounts mentioned today were already part of the Expenditure Budget and how many are additional sums of money.” On Saturday’s announcements, he stated, “My one line comment on FM’s fourth tranche: No fiscal measure, ZILCH.”
CPI general secretary D Raja said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements were all about pushing privatisation. “From atomic sector to aviation sector, defence sector….everywhere they want to usher in corporate capitalism. There is no sensible, reasonable attempt to address the current crisis,” he said.
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