No cash doles to poor in pandemic was most foolish: Chidambaram

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Demonetisation was a foolish decision, the implementation of GST was flawed and foolish, but the most foolish decision of the central government yet was the refusal to give cash doles to the poorest 20-25 per cent of the country’s population during the pandemic, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Thursday.

“Demonetisation was a foolish decision. The flawed GST was a foolish decision. The refusal to give cash doles to the poorest 20-25 per cent of India during the pandemic, was the most foolish decision. The refusal to increase public expenditure in a year of pandemic was very foolish decision,” Chidambaram told a press conference in Panaji on Thursday.

Chidambaram was in Goa on a two-day visit in the capacity as the All India Congress Committee’s senior observer for the 2022 assembly polls.

“And day before yesterday, they announced another foolish decision. That India’s assets will be monetised, which is another euphemism for ‘given away’. They will be monetised for what? 1.5 lakh crore a year? Therefore, the recovery in 21-22 will not take us back to the pre-pandemic level. The recovery in 22-23 may take us back to the pre-pandemic level provided this government doesn’t take any more foolish decisions,” Chidambaram also said.

The former Union Finance minister further said that the country’s economy was at its lowest ebb.

“Please remember, that last year we ended with negative growth. The GDP in constant prices declined sharply. Although the government talks about a ‘V’ shaped recovery, there is no recovery, whether it is ‘V’ shaped or any other shape and the GDP at the end of this year will not go back to the pre-pandemic level of 19-20,” the senior Congress leader said.

“2020-21 was a decline from 19-20. 2021-22 will show an apparent increase over last year’s GDP but it will not go back to the pre-pandemic level. It is only when our GDP goes back to the pre pandemic level, you can call it a recovery. That is not going to happen in 21-22,” Chidambaram said.

–IANS

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