Wednesday, Jun 03, 2020 | Last Update : 04:44 PM IST

70th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra72300313332465 Tamil Nadu2458613706200 Delhi221329243556 Gujarat17632118941092 Rajasthan92716267201 Uttar Pradesh83615030222 Madhya Pradesh82835003358 West Bengal61682410364 Bihar3945174123 Andhra Pradesh3791241464 Karnataka3408132852 Telangana2891152692 Jammu and Kashmir260194631 Haryana2356105521 Punjab2301200044 Odisha210412459 Assam14862854 Kerala132760811 Uttarakhand9592225 Jharkhand6612965 Chhatisgarh5481211 Tripura4231730 Himachal Pradesh3401186 Chandigarh2972144 Manipur83110 Puducherry79250 Goa73500 Nagaland4300 Meghalaya28121 Arunachal Pradesh2010 Mizoram110 Sikkim100

AA Edit: Sonia Gandhi's suggestions are welcome but not bold enough

Published : Apr 9, 2020, 2:19 am IST
Updated : Apr 9, 2020, 2:19 am IST

Congress president recommends austerity when in fact the government needs to spend more not less

Sonia Gandhi has suggested a blanket 30 per cent cut in expenditure. (File photo: PTI)
 Sonia Gandhi has suggested a blanket 30 per cent cut in expenditure. (File photo: PTI)

In response to a call given by prime minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has offered a set of five suggestions to the government on cutting down on expenditure. It’s welcome that the government and the opposition have come together at this time of crisis. However, Sonia Gandhi's suggestions are a disappointment. They would not add much to the national effort to tide over this situation; some of them will in fact undermine it.

The Congress president’s suggestion of a blanket 30 per cent cut on central government expenditure, other than on salaries, pensions and central schemes, is in line with the fiscal conservatism neoliberal economists often advance.

True, the government must cut wasteful expenditure but it should find new avenues to pump in more money into the economy if we are to survive as a nation. A safety net for migrant workers is welcome but what they need more is work, to create which we look to the government. The government should spend more, not less.

Sonia Gandhi's suggestion of a blanket ban on foreign tours by the top functionaries of the government, including the president and the prime minister, serves no purpose other than tokenism. Her suggestion to cut back on government advertisements in the media, if implemented, could ensure that only the big fish media with corporate backing will survive.

However, her other proposals, to postpone the Rs 20,000 crore Central Vista project to build a new Parliament building and transfer of funds received under the PM Cares scheme to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, deserve serious consideration by the government.

Noticeably, the Congress president has not asked for a cut in defence expenditure, which indeed could have provided the government some much-needed financial leeway. Perhaps, she is afraid of being branded anti-national by the right-wingers.

Tags: sonia gandhi, austerity, coronavirus