PC’s Critique Spots Demo as Big Spoiler
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.
Our Political Bureau