New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Congress on Monday hit out at the Narendra Modi-led government over its promise of Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, accusing it of being insincere towards the people, saying the package came as a rude shock for anyone who was expecting some respite.
In a statement, Congress General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge said that it has been 60 days since the lockdown was imposed and every sector of the Indian economy was facing a grave crisis.
“We needed a sector-wise plan and the government had 60 days of lockdown to plan for this. Sectors like tourism, hospitality, airlines, transport, retail, restaurants and construction needed very specific measures, given that they employ large numbers of people. But, it is clear from the measures announced last week that the government has either no sense of the crisis, or has plainly refused to address it to revive the economy,” he said.
Slamming the Centre, Kharge said that India’s GDP growth has been declining for the last six years, and the crisis was brewing even before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Sudden shock of the lockdown has pushed the economy from a slowdown to a complete shutdown. The government needed to revive the economy by reviving supply, demand and credit cycle with its financial package. Instead, the economic package doesn’t just prove that the government is insincere, but has failed on all fronts,” he said.
Lamenting at the government over the economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his special address to nation earlier this month, Kharge said that announcements by the Prime Minister of the country should be made with a lot of deliberation and seriousness, especially during such an unprecedented crisis.
“The so called Rs 20 lakh crore economic package has now been analysed by the experts, and its total cost works out to less than one per cent of the GDP. It has come as a rude shock for anyone who was expecting some respite,” the Congress leader said.
Kharge said that the Prime Minister only “intends” to make grand headline news without taking his colleagues into confidence.
“That is perhaps why Finance Ministry was unprepared and put together such a shoddy package,” he said, adding that on May 5, the Chief Economic Advisor had specifically warned against a stimulus measure as large as Rs 20 lakh crore or 10 per cent of the GDP, saying India cannot afford it.
Kharge said that probably he was not aware that the Prime Minister was going to announce a Rs 20 lakh crore package a week later.
“In any case, it turned out that the package is worth less than one per cent of the GDP, but it shows how the government functions,” he said.
Taking a dig at the government, he further said that the economic package had no “immediate relief” for the agriculture sector, except for talking about reforms.
Today, the agriculture sector is the only bright spot which is expected to grow at 3 per cent when the GDP for the second quarter is expected to fall drastically, he said.
He further said that even top industrialists have asked direct cash transfer of Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500 per month to the poor to boost demand.
“This would also ensure economic freedom for the poor and prevent at least 20 crore people from falling back into poverty. The government simply does not want to provide any direct relief to the poor, because it would mean endorsing the NYAY scheme that Rahul Gandhi had proposed,” Kharge said.
He also said that the government lost a big opportunity to provide relief to the crores of migrant workers and the poor on one hand, and the industries on the other.
“The relief package and the press conferences have not only exposed the apathy of the government towards the migrant workers, but also its arrogance and hypocrisy,” Kharge added.