The Congress on Saturday came down heavily on the government, alleging that it is “clueless” in dealing with the economic slowdown and termed the latest measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as “cosmetic” and “piecemeal”.
“I can only say that the Finance Minister is clueless as to how to deal with the gravity of the crisis,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said while addressing a press conference.
Claiming that the Finance Minister lacks macroeconomic understanding, the Congress leader said, “The steps announced today will not revive the Indian economy, they are purely cosmetic, piecemeal and also convey the arrogance of the government and its indifference to the seriousness of the situation.”
The attack followed a press conference by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who announced an over Rs 70,000-crore package for exports and real estate sectors, including setting up of a stressed asset fund, as the government continued with firefighting measures to pull the economy out of a six-year low growth rate.
In a bid to give a fillip to the slowing economy, Sitharaman announced a Rs 10,000 crore special window to provide last-mile funding for completion of ongoing housing projects. The projects include those which are not NPA’s or facing bankruptcy proceeding under the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product scheme was also announced to replace the existing incentive schemes at an estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore to the exchequer. The scheme “will more than adequately incentivise exporters than the existing schemes put together”.
As per the latest data, there was a significant drop in merchandise exports by 6.05 per cent to USD 26.13 billion in August compared to the year-ago month.
The government has in a span of a month announced several decisions to revive the struggling economy which also include the mega-merger of banks and a cash infusion to create liquidity in the system. In final weeks of August, the government had also announced a partial rollback of the enhanced surcharge on foreign portfolio investors (FPI) levied in the Budget and indicated a review of the surcharge levy for high net worth individuals as well.