Economy moves just cosmetic steps, says Congress

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. File

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Party says latest sops for housing, export sectors won’t help economic revival

Minutes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a range of sops for the export and housing sectors, the Congress on Saturday termed the measures as “cosmetic and piecemeal” and contended that the measures would fail to revive the economy.

The opposition party also accused Ms. Sitharaman of being ‘clueless’.

“I can only say that the Finance Minister is clueless as to how to deal with the gravity of the crisis,” Anand Sharma, Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha, told reporters at a press conference.

Asserting that the situation had deteriorated since the earlier announcements of a stimulus package, Mr. Sharma said the latest steps too would not help.

“The steps that have been announced today will not revive the Indian economy, they are purely cosmetic, piecemeal and also conveys the arrogance and indifference to the seriousness of the situation,” he remarked.

The Congress leader said the government had failed to come up with a comprehensive revival package because it didn’t have money on account of a ‘huge shortfall’ in revenue collection.

‘Lack of understanding’

“The Finance Minister of India is lacking in macroeconomic understanding,” claimed Mr. Sharma, who had served as Commerce Minister between 2009-2014. “A comprehensive package for economic revival was expected,” he added.

The former minister also took on the Finance Minister for talking about retail inflation being under control.

“The objective is not to control inflation; let the inflation rise but the economy be revived, let the investment take place, let the money be released, let the factories start producing again, let our people from engineers to employees, to blue-collar workers in the factories find employment again,” he said.

“Millions have lost jobs and are continuing to lose jobs. Propaganda or abusing political opponents is not going to provide solutions to bread and butter issues of Indian citizens. People want jobs. They want the economy to revive,” Mr. Sharma added.

High taxes

Mr. Sharma also hit out at Ms. Sitharaman’s earlier statement blaming millennials’ preference for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Ola over owning cars, and not high taxes, for slumping vehicle sales, Press Trust of India reported.

Goyal’s slip-up

He also took a swipe at Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal’s apparent gaffe in explaining that achieving the target of nearly doubling the size of the economy to $5 trillion should not be looked at through the prism of Maths.

Mr. Goyal had remarked that maths did not help Albert Einstein ‘to discover gravity’.

The slip up was not lost on netizens who quickly took to Twitter to point out that gravity was discovered by Isaac Newton and Einstein is credited for his theory of relativity.

“Not only insulting the question on numbers and mathematics, but [he is] confusing the country or himself rather on Einstein and Newton,” Mr. Sharma said of Mr. Goyal’s remarks

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:55:09 PM |

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