Chidambaram says Centre’s economic policy ‘betrayal’ of country.
New Delhi: The Modi government on Thursday came under fire from the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha over agrarian crisis, unemployment and other issues, with former finance minister and Congress member P. Chidambaram dubbing the government economic policy as a “betrayal” of the country and said all norms of fiscal prudence have been thrown out of the window.
The Upper House, which took up discussion on the Union Budget 2018-19, saw multiple adjournments and uproar by BJP ally TDP and YSR Congress MPs storming into the Well carrying placards with slogans like “Help Fight for Justice to Andhra Pradesh” and “Keep Your Promise”, demanding special status for the state. The House also witnessed angry scenes between the Congress and ruling party members when BJP’s Bhupendra Yadav sought an explanation from Mr Chidambaram on media reports alleging that a copy of a classified CBI report was recovered from his residence. Finance minister Arun Jaitley will reply to the debate on Friday.
Initiating the debate, Mr Chidambaram sought replies from the government to 12 questions relating to the economy, while describing minimum support price (MSP) for foodgrains, job creation and the Ayushman Bharat scheme as the three “jumlas” (rhetoric) of the BJP-led government in its last full budget before the 2019 polls. All this while, BJP MPs kept sloganeering and seeking an apology from the Congress for disruptions during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Parliamentary Affairs minister Ananth Kumar also supported them. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad termed the ruckus in the House as a failure of the government.
Taking a dig, Mr Chidambaram also asked whether the government will suggest the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to include those selling pakodas in its definition for employment.
TMC’s Derek O’Brien charged the ruling party with disrupting the House, saying it does not have any answer to the issues relating to the Budget by the opposition.
Mr Chidambaram alleged that the government did not address issues like education, agriculture, health sectors and job creation which were the major challenges facing the country.
Seeking replies from finance minister Arun Jaitley on 12 questions emanating from the Budget and plaguing the economy, Mr Chidambaram termed the government’s economic policies as a “betrayal of the country”, claiming that all norms of fiscal prudence “have been thrown out of the window”.
Describing Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian as the “good doctor”, Mr Chidambaram said the Government should listen to his diagnosis prescribed in the Economic Survey.
“We support Triple Talaq Bill but not these Triple Jumlas,” he said, adding that the three “jumlas” (rhetoric) were regarding MSP for farmers, job creation and the Ayushman Bharat programme announced in the Budget.
Defending the budget, BJP’s Bhupender Yadav said there was policy paralysis during the UPA rule and accused the Congress of having misused constitutional institutions then.