Oppn par­ties hit out at govt on Covid pack­age

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - SPOTLIGHT - HT Cor­re­spon­dent n let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEWDELHI:The op­po­si­tion par­ties ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment with the spe­cial Covid-19 stim­u­lus pack­age an­nounced by the Cen­tre on Wed­nes­day with the Congress claim­ing that it has noth­ing for the mi­grant work­ers walk­ing back to their home states.

The Congress fielded for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter, P Chi­dambaram, to counter the gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ments.

“There is noth­ing in what the fi­nance min­is­ter said for the lakhs of poor, hun­gry and dev­as­tated mi­grant work­ers who have walked — and many thou­sands are still walk­ing — back to their home states. This is a cruel blow dealt to those who toil ev­ery day,” he said, ad­dress­ing a news con­fer­ence through video.

“There is also noth­ing by way of cash trans­fer to the bot­tom half of the pop­u­la­tion (13 crore fam­i­lies) who have been pushed into des­ti­tu­tion. Only yes­ter­day, Prof Thomas Pikketty [the French econ­o­mist] pleaded for cash trans­fers to the poor,” added Chi­dambaram.

“Ex­cept for the mod­est MSME pack­age, we are dis­ap­pointed with to­day’s an­nounce­ments,” he said.

West Ben­gal chief min­is­ter and TMC supremo Ma­mata

Ban­er­jee said, “The spe­cial eco­nomic pack­age an­nounced by the union gov­ern­ment is noth­ing but a big zero. It is eye­wash to fool the peo­ple. There is noth­ing for the un­or­gan­ised sec­tor, pub­lic spend­ing and em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion,” she told re­porters.

“Yes­ter­day, when the Prime Min­is­ter an­nounced ~20 lakh crore pack­age, we were hope­ful that the in­ter­est of the states will be looked into. But to­day, after the union fi­nance min­is­ter made the an­nounce­ments, it was found that ev­ery­thing that was said was a bluff,” she said.

Sa­ma­jwadi Party chief Akhilesh Ya­dav called the pack­age mere rhetoric.

“First it was the false prom­ise of (~) 15 lakh, and now it is the claim of (~) 20 lakh crore...Now, the 133 crore peo­ple will be hit by a 133-time big­ger ‘jumla’ (rhetoric)...How can any­one be­lieve this...,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Congress leader Man­ish Te­wari also crit­i­cised the gov­ern­ment’s move. “It is a clear case of skewed pri­or­i­ties of the gov­ern­ment. To­day, In­dia faces the sin­gle big­gest hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis after the Par­ti­tion in 1947 and the dis­place­ment of peo­ple from East Pak­istan. There are mil­lions of mi­grant labour­ers left with­out jobs and shel­ter above their heads. But for the gov­ern­ment it seems they don’t ex­ist,” he said.

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