As the gamut of steps that the BJP government is taking to overcome the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic became clear, Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, Sunday tore into the government’s claims, saying the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned out to be “fraudulent” and “non-existential”, arguing that the fiscal cost of it is just 1.6% of the GDP and not 10 per cent as claimed by him.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the package is worth Rs 3.22 lakh crore and accused the government of misleading the people. He said there is a difference between providing stimulus to the economy and merely giving loans and credit to people.
The Congress also called for the convening of Parliament to discuss what it called “contested and controversial reforms” announced in an arbitrary manner.
Referring to the package, he said, “What has been given… adds up to Rs 3.22 lakh crore… It is 1.6 per cent of the GDP. It is much less than the 2 per cent of the GDP and not 10 per cent as the Prime Minister had very forcefully committed and announced.”
Senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said of the Rs 20 lakh crore, Rs 16.6 lakh crore is for loan and liquidity measures while the remaining Rs 3.2 lakh crore is actual subsidy and cash transfers which also includes old announcements and programmes. “Bogus claims by the Prime Minister have been exposed.If ever there was a fraudulent package this is one,” he said. Ramesh said “many of the announcements made by the Finance Minister in the last five days require Parliamentary approval and scrutiny” and argued that “it is imperative that Parliament is convened at the earliest”.
CPI general secretary D Raja said the measures announced by the Finance Minister are a total sell-off of India’s precious natural resources and assets. “It is a brazen surrender to the US by raising FDI limit in defence production to 74 per cent.,” he said.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the FM who raised states’ borrowing limits from 3 to 5 per cent has “mocked states” by saying they have so far used only 14 per cent of their entitlement. “How misleading. All funds that the Centre has to statutorily transfer to the states and the decision of the RBI to increase ways and means advances is now being claimed as Modi government’s ‘support for the states’,” he tweeted.
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