New Delhi, Feb 10: Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the Indian economy is in deep crisis and the Government should take steps to increase consumption and investments in many sectors.
Initiating a debate on the General Budget 2020 in the Upper House, he said that Government is not willing to accept that this is a structured problem and not because of the cyclic impact.
Slamming the Government, Mr Chidambaram said that a former Chief Economic Advisor had said that the state economy is like a ‘patient’ who is being wheeled towards the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but unfortunately, the Government has kept the patient out of ICU with some incompetent doctors trying treat him by chanting 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas (With all, development for all, the trust of all)".
He further said not even a single idea from the Economic Survey was discussed during the Budget speech and for the last eight months, import growth has been negative.
Citing two important reasons-- demand-constrained and investment-starved-- the former Finance Minister said the Periodic Labour Force Report, 2018 reported that the unemployment rate was at its highest in 45 years at the end of 2017-18 whereas the 74th round of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) survey indicated that the consumer expenditure found a significant fall in consumption between 2011-12 and 2017-18.
'The Government deliberately suppressed the data and did not allow its release because they live in echo- chamber of administrative data”, he alleged further.
Referring to the remark made by Nobel winner Abhijit Banerjee that Indian economy is doing poorly, Mr Chidambaram said the Government does not consult the Opposition, specially the Congress party as it considers it 'untouchable'.
Explaining that the needful solution to revive the economy is only by aggravating demand, he said, 'The obvious solution would be to put money in the hands of the masses and not in the hands of the classes and divest the extraordinary powers given to tax officials ".
He further said that this Government has spent significantly less on important sectors such as Rs 1,08,000 crore instead of the promised Rs 1,84,000 crore on food, Rs 1,21,000 crore instead of the promised Rs 1,61,000 crore in agriculture, Rs 9,900 crore instead of the promised Rs 11,000 crore on the mid-day meal scheme.
The Congress member also alleged that there was a significant shortfall in tax collection.