‘Intent to pick holes’: FM Nirmala Sitharaman on fiscal package criticism
Elaborating the government’s approach, the FM said the government has heard everybody and then gone about stimulating economy, restarting companies and giving relaxations.Updated: May 23, 2020 16:59 IST
The intent is not to understand but to pick holes, said Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in response to the questions about the fiscal stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore being called “too little, too late”.
The FM underlined that the idea is to restart economic activity, put some cash in peoples hands, and infuse liquidity in the system. She was in conversation with party colleague Nalin Kohli answering various facets of the recently announced economic package.
“We compared announcements made by other countries. We should be not confused about this. Every country has brought in a basket of things, some fiscal, some monetary...They have also gone into liquidity being infused. We are not different form them. The proportion might vary. We have come with measures which will get more liquidity into the market. People will get money in hand and kickstart demand,” the FM said.
Elaborating the government’s approach, the FM said the government has heard everybody and then gone about stimulating economy, restarting companies and giving relaxations.
On being told that automobile, retail, entertainment, among others, feel that they got left out, Sitharaman said she did not come up with sectoral references. “Have not excluded anyone. People in any sector can approach banks and get loans,” she said.
The banks, she said, have been told to disburse loans and not fear the 3Cs: the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
“Have spent time with banks that fear of three 3Cs - CBI, CVC, CAG - should not be in their mind. We discussed threadbare where this fear comes from. If a decision goes wrong, banks are assured that no action will be taken if the decision is not malafide,” said the FM.
On the charge that the bulk of announcements focus on poor, the marginalised and that the middle class is not on government’s radar, Sitharaman stressed that it is not the case.
“The initial panic was on the EMIs, so worked with the RBI and they responded. I tend to think middle class is there in every segment, like in farm related allied activities, say, you could be part of dairy activity, an intrepreneur,” said the FM.
She said relief was also provided to the middle class in the budget announcements and pointed to the income tax changes.