Budget 2022

Budget has nothing for the poor: P Chidambaram

BL New Delhi Bureau | | Updated on: Feb 08, 2022
**EDS: TV GRAB** New Delhi: Congress leader P Chidambaram speaks in the Rajya Sabha, during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (RSTV/PTI Photo)(PTI02_08_2022_000086A)

**EDS: TV GRAB** New Delhi: Congress leader P Chidambaram speaks in the Rajya Sabha, during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (RSTV/PTI Photo)(PTI02_08_2022_000086A) | Photo Credit: -

The former finance minister said the word ‘poor’ occurs twice, the word ‘jobs’ occurs thrice in the Budget

Attacking the Centre, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the 2022-23 budget has nothing for poor. Initiating a debate on the Budget in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, he said the Centre has “thrown welfare to the wind”.

Chidambaram said the Centre has forgotten the poor. “Work has not been created and welfare has been thrown to the wind, and you (Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman) say, “we are creating wealth.”

You are creating wealth for whom, for the 142 billionaires or for the crony capitalists? Who are you creating wealth for? If wealth is not shared, what is the point of creating wealth?,” Chidambaram asked. He said the word ‘poor’ occurs twice in the Budget, the word ‘jobs’ occurs thrice. “You have forgotten the poor. Let me end by saying that the poor will not forget you; the poor have long memories,” he added.

Role of the Congress

Countering what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said about the Congress during a debate on the motion to thank President Ram Nath Kovind for his address to both the Houses of Parliament, Chidambaram said had the Congress not been there, Rajya Sabha would still be the Council of the Princes and instead of leaders of various parties, there would have been regional rulers sitting with their shining armours and flowing turbans, speaking in praise of Queen Elizabeth II who has completed 70 years in the thrown.

“Thank God for the Congress, we have a Rajya Sabha and I am able to speak to you,” he said.

On employment, he said as on 31 March, 2021, there were 8,72,243 vacancies in the Central government. “And the almighty Government of India recruited 78,264 persons to these vacancies, leaving nearly eight lakh vacancies vacant as of today,” he said.

On Modi’s allegation that Congress is the leader of “ tukde-tukde gang”, he said a question was asked in Parliament that who are the members of the tukde-tukde gang and the Home Ministry said it does not have any data on the tukde-tukde gang.

‘NDA - No data available government’

“There is no data available on the tukde-tukde gang. There is no data available on the oxygen shortage deaths. There is no data available on the bodies flowing on the rivers. There is no data available on how many migrants walked back to their homes. There is no data available on doubling of farmers’ income which should have been done in 2022. This is a no data available government, otherwise the NDA Government,” Chidambaram said.

He said he had cautioned against indiscriminate disinvestment and said the Centre collected only ₹78,000 crore as against the target of ₹1,75,000 crore. He said the Budget Estimate for capital expenditure for 2021-22 was ₹5,54,236 crore but in the Revised Estimate it was ₹6,02,711 crore.

“I was pleasantly surprised until we got into the finer print and we found that ₹6,02,711-crore includes a one-time debt payment of Air India of ₹51,971 crore. That is not a capital expenditure. That is repayment to the bank. If you deduct that amount, it will be about ₹5,52,000 crore which is less than the Budget Estimate,” he said.

Employment generation

He said that only 52 crore of the total workforce have some kind of a job, regular or irregular and the Budget speech had one statement about job creation that through Gati Shakti and infrastructure 60 lakh jobs would be created in five years.

“So, that is about 12 lakh jobs a year. The annual addition to the labour force is 47.5 lakh. If 47.5 lakh people are coming into the labour force, workforce, every year and you are creating 12 lakh jobs, what would the rest do? The answer is very simple. They would fry and sell pakodas,” he added.

GDP growth

He added that in 2016-17, India’s GDP grew by 8.3 per cent. “In 2019-20, it slid down year by year to 3.7 per cent and in 2020-21, the pandemic year, we hit a recession. I would leave out that year but in four years, this government has brought down the growth rate from 8.3 per cent to 3.7 per cent. In 2019-20, the GDP in constant terms was ₹145 lakh crore. In 2020-21, the pandemic year, it came down to ₹ 135 lakh crore. We are growing only when we go back to 145 lakh crore. 145 lakh crore is the last benchmark that we hit,” he said.

Concentration of wealth

He added that the top ten per cent of India garner 57 per cent of the national income and holds 77 per cent of the nation’s wealth.

“102 billionaires have become 142 billionaires and the 142 billionaires’ wealth has increased from ₹23 lakh crore to ₹53 lakh crore rupees in two years. This is in the context of India,” he said and subsidies have been reduced for various schemes and sectors.

Published on February 08, 2022

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