New Delhi: Left parties Sunday described the government’s economic package as “misleading” and a “jugglery of numbers”, hours after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the fifth and final tranche of the economic stimulus package.
The Finance Minister raised allocation for MGNREGS by Rs 40,000 crore over and above the Rs 61,000 crore budgeted earlier for the employment guarantee scheme, to provide employment to migrant workers moving back to their states. This, she said, will help generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury in a series of tweets said the FM who raised the states’ borrowing limits from 3 to 5 per cent has “mocked states” by saying they have so far used only 14 per cent of their borrowing entitlement.
“How misleading. 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 tweeted.
Yechury said steps must be taken by the RBI to acquire bonds issued by state governments at the repo rate and reduce their costs of borrowing.
“The jugglery of numbers from govt over the last 5 days has nothing to do with helping tide over this massive crisis the poor and the vulnerable face. That the Modi govt has been blind to the moving images and news from all over tells us that its priority remains Cronyism & PR,” he said.
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 parliament is not in session. They are using this crisis to push these policies.
“Also today she spoke on the public sector. It is basically a sell off. Modi speaks of maximum governance and minimum government, now, there is no government and no governance. They have completely abdicated all responsibility,” he said.
Speaking on the sops given to the states, Raja said the centre was not giving adequate funds to the state governments.
“The finance minister now wants states to borrow. So basically they are abdicating here as well. Is this cooperative federalism?” asked Raja.