In a strongly-worded statement slamming Ms Sitharaman’s announcement, Chidambaram said, “It was not sly attempt to dazzle people with exaggerated numbers and lead them to believe that the government is hands-on and responsive to the needs of the people and the economy.”
Describing Sunday’s announcement as a ‘candid confession’ that the earlier so-called Rs 20 lakh crore package was a massive failure, the former union finance minister said, “It was a failure because it was a hoax.”
Referring to the surge in retail inflation to 7.34%, Chidambaram attributed the rise in CPI inflation to the steep rise in the price of vegetables that has hurt the homemaker the most and said the numbers claimed this time too were a hoax. Claiming that the stimulus is not a value of Rs 73,000 crore or one lakh crore, which is another thrown at the people, the Congress leader said the fiscal impact of the announcements is estimated by analysis to be a mere 0.1% of GDP. Remarking that the government tells government servants when and what amount they should spend on what goods just as the BJP has been telling what to eat, what language to speak, who to love and who to marry, Chidambaram accused the govt of trying to control the people on their spending preferences.
Likening the Rs 10,000 crore interest-free festival advance to govt servants (to be recovered in 10 monthly instalments), the former finance minister said Rs 12,000 crore offered to states is not a grant but a loan. “All big states put together will get Rs 7,500 crore, which is a minuscule fraction of the capital expenditure of Rs 9 lakh crore budgeted by states for 2020-21. It will make little difference,” he claimed.
On dis-incentivising encashment of 10 days of leave by imposing spending stipulations for a paltry tax benefit, he said the most deserving people have once again been left in the cold. With the govt refusing to make cash transfer to their accounts as recommended by economists, he said, “I am sure they are watching the government’s pitiful efforts to revive the economy that will register a de-growth of 10 per cent in 2020-21.”