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Budget for the rich, of the rich, by the rich: Chidambaram

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 11, 2021 Published on February 11, 2021

P Chidambaram   -  PTI

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram urged the Centre to amend the Budget and provide cash transfers, rations and succour to the poor. The Budget in its present form, he charged, is “prepared for the rich, of the rich and by the rich.”

Speaking in Rajya Sabha, he said the Centre may get away with this kind of a Budget for now. “But, as long as the poor continue to suffer, one day or the other, the poor will wake up and, in a non-violent, peaceful manner, show the government what it has done and what it should have done. I don’t know when that will happen, but it will happen,” he warned.

‘Nothing for the poor’

He said the pretext of the budget is that the country is facing a pandemic and the answer is supply-side measures. “The context is a slowing down economy, pushed into a deep recession, minus 10 per cent, thanks to the pandemic and thanks to incompetent economic management. But, more than the text, more than the pretext, more than the context, what is important is the sub-text. The sub-text is, this is a Budget prepared for the rich, of the rich and by the rich. This Budget has done nothing for the poor of India who continue to suffer,” he said.

The Congress leader said the unemployed, those who are looking for employment, those who have lost jobs, the MSMEs who have closed down, the migrant workers, those who are waiting for rations to be given to them for a few more months, all of them have been neglected in the budget.

He said the par jeevis (parasites) the Prime Minister was referring in his speech are those one per cent who control 73 per cent of India’s wealth.

‘Give money to people’

He said the country had witnessed eight quarters of slowdown. “The Government was in denial. The government was refusing to accept the reality of a slowing economy and the Government believed wrongly that the problem of India’s economy was cyclical and not structural,” he said. He added that every economist in the world has said, we have to stimulate demand. “The best way to stimulate demand is to put money in the hands of the people. This Government has failed on that account,” he said.

He said major numbers are suspect in this budget, like last year’s budget. “Mark my words, the revenue projections for next year are ambitious. There will be a shortfall. The disinvestment projections are ambitious. There will be a shortfall, and your revenue expenditure will increase more than what you have provided for because you have under-provided under a large number of heads, including defence and health,” he said.

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur said the Budget gives new hope for the people of the country. He said allocations for farmers and rural houses have increased and it is much higher than the previous regimes. He said it will take India towards self sufficiency and instil vigour on investors.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will reply to the debate on Friday.

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Published on February 11, 2021
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