Govt making mockery of the people
The Correspondent Bureau: The Congress party perhaps for the first time since lockdown, launched its most fierce and vociferous attack against the Central Government for “dominating the lives of people by changing the social structure in the country and mocking at all sections of society” as was evident from migrant workers fiasco, perpetuating a fear-driven narrative and not opening up the economy. Former Central Minister and Congress leader Pawan Bansal on Sunday directly blamed the government for the deaths of the migrant workers who were forced to leave their work places due the abrupt and mindless lockdown thrust upon the people by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The people are dying. Migrant workers are being forced to leave cities and walk back homes. And the government can’t even provide buses for them or food to them,” Bansal said. “They have lost their jobs, have no money or food and that is why they are leaving for their villages on foot.” “The government is dominating the lives of the people as people are helpless. It is growing inequalities in the people and aggravating the situation. The government is not thinking about the last person in the que, forget about reaching him,” the Congress leader said in Chandigarh.
Demanding that the government act fast before it becomes even more late, Bansal said, “The government should open up all services and let factories work. How can they work with 30 percent work force?” He demanded that government open up public transport and inter-state movement of the people. “When they can operate air services and even train services, why can’t they operate buses. They should also be allowed immediately,” Bansal said after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the last tranche of the overall economic stimulus package under the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission that amounts to Rs 20,97,053 crore. “This amount of Rs 20 lakh crore is a sham. The actual cost to the government is to the tune of Rs 3 lakh crore, which is also on the higher side.
The rest is a big public relation exercise by the government,“ Bansal trashed the package announced by Modi. “The actual MSMEs in the country are 6.3 crore. The government says 45 lakhs. What about the other 5.85 lakh small and medium enterprises presently reeling under heavy financial distress? Are they not counted in the bank loans that the government plans to take guarantee off,” he said. “The measures claimed by the Finance Minister as a fiscal stimulus is a mirage,” he said.
At a Zoom press conference on Sunday, Bansal alleged that after remaining impassive to the sufferings of people for inordinately long time and failing to alleviate the distress of trade, industry, services, farmers, the salaried class and the labourers, the Prime Minister announced a stimulus of Rs 20 lakh crore to give a boost of self reliance to the economy that had come to a complete halt. “The hope generated, though, to overcome all-pervasive despondency has been short lived,” he said.
The illusory grand stimulus plan announced by the Finance Minister in four parts looks something like this: A mirage of Rs 20 lakh crore but no immediate relief in the form cash assistance or exemptions to anyone but only an intent to undertake some programmes in the future.
A Scheme without compensatory interest benefit or exemption to trade and industry and cash assistance to the economically poor half of the total number of families of the country cannot be called a stimulus as wrongly claimed. In the name of a stimulus and with the avowed objective self-reliance , permitting more FDI in defence production and opening space exploration to private sector tantamount to democracy giving way to oligarchy and rendering vulnerable critical security concerns of the country.
The National Food Security Act was enacted in 2013 to ensure ration to every Indian. According to the statement of the Finance Minister, eight crore Indians (internal migrants) are not covered under this system and are deprived of ration. “For the last two months, these people who have been suffering from hunger and it is now that ration to them for two months has been announced. However, the number of such deprived persons is now more than 10 crore.”
It was Pt Jawaharlal Nehru who gave a call for self-Reliance in 1947 and he achieved success through five-year plans. Indira Gandhi achieved self-sufficiency in food grains. How does the Finance Minister talk about self-sufficiency when FDI in defence is being enhanced to 74 per cent and import of fruits and vegetables is being permitted.