The opposition were unimpressed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s first set of announcements. Leading the charge, senior Congress Leader and former finance Minister P Chidambaram said it is a “prisoner of its own ignorance and fears”.
Chidambaram said the Centre has announced Rs 3 lakh crore of collateral-free loans for small businesses and asked where the remaining Rs 16.4 lakh crore was.
“Except for the modest MSME package, we are disappointed with today”s announcements,” he said.
“Where is the rest of the Rs 16.4 lakh crore? This government is a prisoner of its own ignorance and fears. The government must spend more, but it is not willing to do so. The government must borrow more, but it is not willing to do so. The government must allow states to borrow more and spend more, but it is not willing to do so,” he said.
Chidambaram said the first thing the government needs to do is to “put money in the hands of the 13-crore families in the bottom of the population” that will cost the government only Rs 65,000 crore if Rs 5,000 is given to each family.
In fierce attack , West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the finance minister had offered nothing to states and her announcements were “a big zero”.
“The special economic package announced by the Union government is nothing but a big zero. It is an eyewash to fool people. There is nothing for the unorganised sector, public spending and employment generation,” she said.