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Is the Chief Economic Adviser also stupid, Chidambaram asks Modi

P. Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram  

On Wednesday, addressing election rallies at four different places, Prime Minister Modi mocked at certain intellectuals and economists for ‘misleading’ the country.

 

A day after Prime Minister Modi called Congress’ opposition to the Goods & Services Tax as a “grand stupid thought”, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram asked if he also considered his government’s chief economic advisor stupid for articulating the same viewpoint.

“If it is [a] grand stupid thought to argue for a cap of the tax rate at 18%, then CEA Arvind Subramanian and many other economists are stupid. Is that what the PM is saying?” Mr. Chidambaram asked in a series of tweets.

The Congress leader asked if the Prime Minister had not read the CEA’s report on Revenue Neutral Rate where he had recommended a revenue neutral revenue (RNR) of 15% to 15.5%.

“Why can’t the normal GST rate be 15% and RNR plus rate on luxury goods be 18%? ‘Tax and spend’ is the credo of the BJP government. Example, when crude oil prices fell by 50%, prices of petrol and diesel remained the same,” he said.

Economists mocked at

On Wednesday, addressing election rallies at four different places, Prime Minister Modi mocked at certain intellectuals and economists for ‘misleading’ the country.

“The Congress wants the same 18% tax on something as essential as salt and something as expensive as ₹5 crore worth car. They want 28% tax on alcohol and costly cigarettes to be reduced to 18%,” he said at a rally in Gujarat.

“Do you want to sell cheap alcohol and spread cancer by selling cheap cigarettes. This is nothing but a grand stupid thought,” Mr. Modi had said, calling the Congress’ stand as anti-poor.

Corporates’ debt

However, the Congress continued to attack the government on economic issues and asked it why it was not acting against the big corporates that reportedly have a huge pile-up of Non Performing Assets (NPAs).

“We all know that top 50 corporates owe ₹8.35 lakh crores to the banks and out of those, three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance [Anil Ambani Group], Adani and Essar owe — ₹3 lakh crore,” said Abhishek Manu Singhvi at a press briefing.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 10:33:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/is-chief-economic-adviser-also-stupid-chidambaram-asks-modi/article21201760.ece

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