Finance Minister’s stimulus concedes failure of ₹20 lakh crore Atma Nirbhar package: Congress

The Congress on Monday said the latest announcements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about a fiscal stimulus is an admission that the much hyped ₹20-lakh crore Atma Nirbhar package was a “dismal failure to protect or revive the ravaged economy”.

The party said the Finance Minister’s intent is really to manage headlines and “somehow believe that the economy will respond to these headlines”.

Addressing a joint press conference, Praveen Chakravarty, Congress’ Data Analytics Head, and Professor Gourav Vallabh, asked why the Narendra Modi government took six months to realise that lack of demand was the main problem facing the economy instead focusing on credit expansion and debt restructuring.

Though the Congress leaders welcomed the announcement about capital investment in infrastructure for States, they said the amount of ₹12,000 crore for this year is merely 1.33% of the ₹9 lakh crore already budgeted for this purpose in the current financial year.

“Today’s announcements are also clear a message that the Prime Minister’s much hyped ₹20 lakh Atma Nirbhar Package announced in May is a dismal failure in both protecting and reviving our ravaged economy….Just because the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister or the Government of India says that this is an economic stimulus, the economy does not obey and get stimulated. The economy does not function like the BJP sangathan or the Cabinet, where some leaders order and everybody obeys; the economy has a mind of its own,” Mr. Chakravarty said.

“A stimulus by definition means something extra, more, additional. What is extra today? Is anything extra today in terms of money in the hands of people to stimulate demand?” he asked, while reiterating that the Congress demanded direct cash transfers to stimulate demand.

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