PC’s Cri­tique Spots Demo as Big Spoiler

The Economic Times - - Budget: Day After -

New Delhi: Se­nior Congress leader P Chi­dambaram has in­sisted the Union Bud­get has failed to de­liver any­thing for those who lost their money and jobs post-de­mon­eti­sa­tion and claimed the note re­call and its con­se­quences have “de­mor­alised the gov­ern­ment” and forced it to “re­treat from re­forms”. He has also dubbed the tax cut as mere “to­kenism” and said slash­ing in­di­rect taxes would have ben­e­fit­ted crores of peo­ple.

In a 10-point cri­tique of the bud­get, he has charged the gov­ern­ment with fail­ing to use the op­por­tu­nity for re­viv­ing growth, push­ing through bold re­forms, cre­at­ing jobs, help­ing distressed farm­ers, boost­ing ag­gre­gate de­mands, etc. At the same time Chi­dambaram said there were” a few pos­i­tives” in the budgets, the “most im­por­tant be­ing a chas­tened gov­ern­ment” not do­ing “any­thing reck­less or dis­rup­tive” af­ter the “de­ba­cle of de­mon­eti­sa­tion”. Though he dubbed the bud­get as a “damp squib”, he com­ple­mented fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley for “adopt­ing a tone of mod­er­a­tion”.

Fu­elling Congress’ po­lit­i­cal plank against de­mon­eti­sa­tion woes, the for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter said, “It is ob­vi­ous that de­mon­eti­sa­tion and its in­evitable con­se­quences have de­mor­alised the gov­ern­ment. Gov­ern­ment has re­treated from re­forms. And the gov­ern­ment has no answers to the se­vere chal­lenges faced by the econ­omy. Key sec­tions of the peo­ple feel cheated and let down.”

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence at the Congress head­quar­ters, Chi­dambaram un­veiled his 10-point cri­tique. “The sec­tions of the peo­ple most af­fected by de­mon­eti­sa­tion were the farm­ers, farm work­ers, man­ual labour­ers, the self-em­ployed, ar­ti­sans and mi­cro, small and medium busi­nessper­sons. They lost crores of ru­pees in the form of wages, in­comes and cap­i­tal. There is ab­so­lutely noth­ing in the bud­get for these sec­tions. We had de­manded that the gov­ern­ment of­fer them com­pen­sa­tion in some form, but the gov­ern­ment has cru­elly ne­glected them,” he said.

Main­tain­ing that farm­ing com­mu­nity has been “cheated” by Bud­get, he said, “The gov­ern­ment seems to be to­tally obliv­i­ous to the plight of the farm­ing com­mu­nity. The best sig­nal to the farmer is a re­mu­ner­a­tive price for his pro­duce. The fi­nance min­is­ter has not even ut­tered the phrase ‘Min­i­mum Sup­port Price’ in his speech”.

Tap­ping the youth con­stituency, he said, “The most vo­cal de­mand of the peo­ple, es­pe­cially the youth and their par­ents, is, Where are the jobs? The NDA promised to cre­ate 2 crore jobs ev­ery year. Their best re­sult so far was 1.5 lakh jobs in 2015-16.

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