For the rich, of the rich, by the rich’: Chidambaram tears into Union Budget
Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday attacked the government’s “disappointing” “budget for the rich, of the rich, and by the rich”, which he said is meant only for “1% of India’s population that controls 73% of the country’s wealth.” The former Union finance minister, while participating in the debate on the Union Budget in Parliament, said that “there’s nothing for the poor people of India, who continue to suffer…Two years of a slowdown before the coronavirus is a reality.” He alleged that country witnessed three years of “incompetent economic mismanagement.”
Chidambaram said his party has rejected the budget, presented by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1. “We must, therefore, record our strongest protest and dissent. And because of this dissent, we will be called 'andolanjeevi' and 'parjeevi’,” he said in the Rajya Sabha.
Here’s a list of thing he claims the government is denying about the economic slowdown:
1. He slammed the big numbers in the budget and asked the government to give out realistic numbers which would be a natural and mechanical growth after coronavirus induced slowdown. The government has projected a 14.8% gross domestic product for 2021 while Chidambaram limited it between 9.4 -8.4% based on the arithmetic.
2. Asking the government to withdraw the budget, he said major numbers are suspect in this year's budget including the capital expenditure of ₹51,000 crore. “Where did the rest of the money go?” he asked.
3. Chidambaram expressed concern over no mention of the defence sector for the first time in the budget speech even as the allocation to the health sector was reduced.
4. He urged the government to help people and migrant labourers by providing cash transfers and ration, else he warned that the poor will wake up and in a non-violent, peaceful manner, show what should be done.
5. The Congress leader claimed that the government failed to stimulate the growth and will drag GDP three years back.
6. The former finance minister compared GDP figures from the last few years and questioned the growth after 2017-18, which was ₹131 lakh crore. “Since then what has happened? In 2019-20, it was a slower crawl to ₹145 lakh crore and in 2020-21, the year that is about to end, the first half is about ₹60 lakh crore and the year may end at about ₹130 lakh crore, which means we are back to where we were in 2017-18,” he said.