New Delhi [India], October 13 (ANI): Former union minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday termed the Central government's Rs 73,000 crore package to stimulate consumer spending in the economy as an another "sly attempt" to dazzle people with exaggerated numbers.
Addressing a digital press conference, the Congress leader said that the earlier so-called 'Rs 20 lakh crore package' was a massive failure because it was a hoax.
"After carefully reading the statement of the Finance Minister on the so-called stimulus package, I am reminded of the Hindi proverb Khoda Pahaad Nikla Chuha. Loosely translated, it means 'dig a mountain and find a mouse'," Chidambaram said.
"Let me make it clear at the outset: the grand announcement yesterday was no stimulus package to push economic growth; it was another sly attempt to dazzle the 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," he said.
Calling the Rs 73,000 crore package as a "hoax", the former union minister said that the stimulus is not of the value of Rs 73,000 crore.
"Nor is it of the value of Rs 1,00,000 crore, another number that has been thrown at us. The fiscal impact of these announcements is estimated by analysts to be a mere 0.1 per cent of GDP. I am also amazed by the use of the phrase 'demand infusion'. I wonder if such a phrase exists," he said.
"The government is also trying to play the role of ma-baap when it tells government servants what amount and on what goods and when they should spend their own money. Just as the BJP has been telling people what to eat, what to wear, what language to speak, who to love, who to marry etc., it is now trying to control people's spending preferences. This is another piece of retrograde interference in people's lives," he added.
Responding to a question, he said: "The government is doing nothing to revive jobs. The government is not even filling vacancies in government jobs. I don't think that the government has any plans, package or scheme to bring the jobs that you have lost."
Chidambaram said that the most deserving people who need the money desperately have once again been left in the cold.
"They are the bottom half of the families in India. Government stubbornly refuses to make a cash transfer to their accounts as recommended by dozens of economists and as demanded by the Congress and other political parties. 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," he said.
On Monday, Union Finance Minister Finance Nirmala Sitharaman announced measures of Rs 73,000 crore to stimulate consumer spending in the economy in an effort to fight the slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic following lockdown. (ANI)