Hours after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled proposals aimed at stimulating consumer demand, the Congress said the announcement was a clear admission that the “much hyped” Rs 20 lakh crore Atmanirbhar plan announced by the Prime Minister in May was a “dismal failure” in protecting and reviving India’s “ravaged” economy.
“The Finance Minister unveiled a set of measures today and termed them as ‘fiscal stimulus’ for the economy which she claimed will stimulate demand and investment. We are glad that the Finance Minister has had a belated realisation that consumer demand needs to be stimulated in the economy, something that we and almost every other sensible economist have clamoured for, over the last six months,” Congress leaders Gourav Vallabh and Praveen Chakravarty said in a statement.
Reacting to the announcement of an LTC cash voucher scheme and a special festival advance of Rs 10,000 to all government employees, they said government employees already have leave travel allowance as part of their salary.
“Today, the FM told them that they should now spend this on goods with greater than 12% GST at a GST registered store in non-cash form. Essentially, the FM ordered government employees how to spend their own money and called it a ‘stimulus for demand’,” they said, adding: “We have been vouching for NYAY scheme to be implemented. Only money in the hands of the people can stimulate demand. It should truly be cash in hand and not diversion of cash from one area to another like the government has announced… The FM forgot the most basic lesson about money – it is fungible. Whether it is called LTC or festival advance, money is money for the individual. Unless there is additional money, the individual is not going to spend more. So, where is the question of a demand stimulus?” they said.