New Delhi, May 18 (UNI) Taking on the Narendra Modi government over the special stimulus package for the lockdown-hit Indian economy, former finance minister P Chidambaram on Monday expressed disappointment, saying it has left high and dry various sections, including 13 crore families in the bottom half of the population.
'We express our thorough disappointment and request the government to reconsider the stimulus package and announce a revised and comprehensive fiscal stimulus package of not less than Rs 10 lakh crore of real additional expenditure, equivalent to 10 per cent of GDP,' the senior Congress leader said via video conference.
Referring to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's press conferences to elaborate the special economic package, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Chidambaram said the Congress has carefully analysed the contents of the five 'tranches'.
'We have also looked into the analyses put out by various economists, experts, agencies and banks. In our view, a fiscal stimulus of Rs 1,86,650 crore amounting to barely 0.91 per cent of GDP will be totally inadequate given the gravity of the economic crisis and the dire situation in which people find themselves.
'Most analysts, rating agencies and banks have placed the size of the fiscal stimulus at between 0.8 to 1.5 per cent,' he said.
Mr Chidambaram said, 'We note with deep regret” that the fiscal stimulus package has left several sections high and dry, including 13 crore families who are the bottom half of the population; migrant workers; farmers; landless agricultural labour; daily wage non-agricultural labour; workers who have been laid off or retrenched; workers in unorganised or unregistered businesses/units who have lost their jobs; self-employed who have no work; 7 crore shopkeepers; lower middle class families who have run out of cash and are forced to borrow and 5.8 crore MSMEs.
Mr Chidambaram said the finance minister had acknowledged that additional expenditure must be financed by additional borrowing.
The former Union Minister further stated that there can be no fiscal stimulus to the economy without additional expenditure over and above the budgeted expenditure.
'The true value of the fiscal stimulus package will be known when we know what is the additional borrowing in 2020-21 to finance the additional expenditure over and above the expenditure budget of Rs 30,42,230 crore. The truth cannot be hidden for long,' Mr Chidambaram said.
The Congress leaders requested the government to reconsider the stimulus package and announce a revised and comprehensive fiscal stimulus package of not less than Rs 10 lakh crore of real additional expenditure equivalent to 10 per cent of GDP.
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