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FM’s claim of helping State governments is misleading: Left

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has asked the government to ensure that the RBI buys State government bonds at the repo rate.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has asked the government to ensure that the RBI buys State government bonds at the repo rate.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Government trying to promote self-reliance by selling out the economy, they say

The Opposition parties criticised Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for claiming to have given the State governments adequate help during the lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Announcing the fifth and the final tranche of the Aatmanirbhar stimulus package, Ms. Sitharaman said the Centre has paid States ₹46,038 crore tax dues. She also said the States, while demanding an increase in the borrowing limit, have only borrowed 14% of their existing authorised limit.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said this is a ‘misleading’ claim. “All funds that the Centre has to statutorily transfer to the States and the decision of the RBI to increase ways and means advances is now being claimed as Modi government’s ‘support for the States’,” he said in a tweet.

“FM mocked at States saying they have so far used only 14% of their borrowing entitlement. Why? When they go to the market in the current situation, interest rates rise sharply increasing their debt burden. The government must ensure that the RBI buys State govt. bonds at the repo rate,” he said.

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CPI general secretary D. Raja asked if the Finance Minister was trying to promote self-reliance by ¨selling out the economy¨. “In the name of fighting the pandemic, this government has aggressively imposed its neo-liberal economic agenda. From agriculture to every sector, they talk about corporatisation even defence, coal and the space sector. These are strategic sectors and how can they make such far-reaching decisions without going to Parliament,” he said.

He also slammed the government’s proposal opening strategic sectors like atomic, defence and space to the private sector. ¨It is basically a sell off,” Mr. Raja said. He said while PM Narendra Modi speaks of maximum governance and minimum government, now, there is no government and no governance. “They have completely abdicated responsibility.”

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Speaking on the sops given to the States, Mr. Raja said the Centre is not giving adequate funds to the States. ¨The Finance Minister now wants the States to borrow. So basically they are abdicating here as well. Is this cooperative federalism?” he asked.

RJD MP Manoj K Jha said Shakespeare’s lines from Macbeth, “False face must hide what the false heart doth know’ can aptly describe the five-day long affair of announcements.

“There is no urgent relief but an unsubstantiated promise for an uncertain future date,” Mr. Jha said. The government’s package is a ruse to allow a larger share for the private players in critical sectors. And the government has chosen the “easy loan corridor” when it could have handed them over guaranteed money for at least coming five to six months. “Even for MGNREGA they chose not to talk about increase in the mandays and substantially enhancing the wages. Why no concrete measure to cover all non-income tax payee households?” he asked.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 8:55:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/fms-claim-of-helping-state-governments-is-misleading-left/article31608574.ece

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