Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan Wednesday has alleged that pre-budget meetings were being held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) but Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had not been invited in any of the 13 discussions held so far.
Addressing the media in Pune, Chavan said the upcoming Union Budget was being framed by PM Modi and not by Sitharaman. “If Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not happy with Sitharaman’s performance, she should be replaced with a more competent person. Keeping the Finance Minister out of Union Budget discussions doesn’t augur well for the government’s image,” Chavan said.
Chavan said for the first time in Indian history, meetings pertaining to the Union Budget were taking place at the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Traditionally, pre-Budget meetings are conducted by the Finance Ministry. However, this year, it’s happening for the first time that the meetings are happening in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Finance Minister is not being invited to attend them. So far, 13 meetings have taken place at the PMO that was headed by PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. FM Sitharman remained absent from these citing some or the other reason,” the Congress leader said.
Chavan blamed the current grim situation of the economy on “inconsistent and incoherent policies” of the Union Government since 2014 and also criticised steps such as demonetisation and faulty implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“If the Budget set by PM Modi for the Indian economy is of achieving $3 trillion, then it should grow at about 8-9 per cent per annum. Let’s see what the Budget does to achieve this growth from the current 4.5 per cent,” said Chavan.
On the Supreme Court’s decision to give the Centre four weeks to file replies to over 140 pleas on the Citizenship Amendment Act, Chavan said the court should have taken the matter with urgency.
“There’s a state of confusion among the citizens of India and a huge number of people are out on the roads protesting against the law. In this situation, it would have been better for the Supreme Court to head the cases with urgency,” said Chavan.
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