Opposition parties on Tuesday reacted cautiously to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a Rs 20-lakh-crore economic package, with the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the Left parties maintaining that they will wait for finer details before coming up with an elaborate response.
Divergent views emerged from the Congress, with some leaders welcoming the package and others saying the Prime Minister has only given the country a “headline”.
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of the economic package and stimulus of Rs 20 lakh crore. We will wait for the details, but hope that it will provide much needed relief to the stressed micro, small and medium sector, especially for support towards payment of workers wages and a healing touch to the migrant workers, labour and the poor.,” senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told The Indian Express.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted, “The financial package announced by PM Modi ji was much awaited. Better late than never. We welcome this. Now when details emerge, we would know exactly how different sectors
Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala tweeted that the Prime Minister’s address has only given “the country and the media a HEADLINE”.
“When the ‘blank page’ is filled with ‘Heartfelt Help of People’, the nation and Congress party will respond. The mammoth heart-breaking human tragedy of migrant workers walking back home needed compassion, care & safe return. India is deeply disappointed by your utter lack of empathy, sensitivity & failure to address the woes of millions of migrant workers,” he tweeted.
The mammoth heart breaking human tragedy of migrant workers walking back home needed compassion, care & safe return.
India is deeply disappointed by your utter lack of empathy, sensitivity & failure to address the woes of millions of #MigrantWorkers !
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) May 12, 2020
Party MP Manish Tewari tweeted, “@PMOIndia ‘s speech can be summed up in one word — Headline Hunting. A number — 20 lakh crores. No details.”
The Trinamool Congress was sceptical. “We saw the box today. We saw the wrapping paper today. But what is in the product. we don’t know. For that, we have to open the package tomorrow or day after. He (Modi) said 20 lakh crores, 10 per cent of GDP, but (there was a) little asterisk there saying some conditions apply.,” party leader Derek O’Brien said.
First reaction to the Prime Minister’s 8pm address.
Any financial package is welcome but have raised Qs in this ??VIDEO.
And nothing about migrant workers being turned into bonded labour?
Or a few details about the PMCares fund? pic.twitter.com/qdcKn89flL
— Citizen Derek | ?????? ????? (@derekobrienmp) May 12, 2020
He asked how the Centre will raise Rs 20 lakh crore. “How is all this going to be paid for? A borrowing? Where are the details for the borrowing?… Because if you are going to borrow Rs 20 lakh crore, what happens to the state? How will states then borrow? No details. Are you going to raise taxes?. we have to wait for the details because the devil is in the details.”
O’ Brien also slammed the Prime Minister for not giving any assurance to states on their demand for payment of GST dues and an increase in borrowing limit under the Financial Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2005.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said it was difficult to comment on the package or the fourth phase of lockdown in the absence of details. He, however, said it was unfortunate that the Prime Minister did not speak about providing relief to the crores of migrant workers. “We were all expecting the Prime Minister to announce some facility or relief for them. But there was no word… And what about the lakhs of people who are hungry.”
“The four big problems confronting India: distress of migrants, resources that States need, Hunger and Unemployment were not addressed at all,” Yechury said.
“We will wait to see details of the package. We hope this money will go in the pockets of the poor and the hungry, not to help more defaulters….”
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