This Article is From May 16, 2020

"Only Thirteen Zeroes": Congress Slams Centre's COVID-19 Stimulus Plan

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said farmers and labourers have not received a single penny through the package.

'Only Thirteen Zeroes': Congress Slams Centre's COVID-19 Stimulus Plan

The BJP, meanwhile, accused the Congress of ideological bankruptcy (File)

New Delhi:

The centre's Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package crafted to cushion the economic impact of coronavirus proved to be "only 13 zeroes", the Congress said on Friday, reacting to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's press conference in which she announced the third tranche of announcements.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed farmers and labourers have not received a single penny through the package.

"One thing is absolutely clear that the so-called Rs 20 lakh crore economic package has proved to be a jumla package. It reflects the 'voodoo' economics being followed by the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and the Finance Minister," Mr Surjewala was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

"The package has proved to be only thirteen zeroes," he added.

The government will provide Rs 1 lakh crore to fund agriculture infrastructure projects, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her third set of announcements on the mega economic stimulus. She also said the Essential Commodities Act would be amended and pulses, cereals, edible oil, oil seeds, onions and potatoes would be taken out of it to help farmers get better prices.

Former finance minister P Chidambaram said in his estimate, the fiscal stimulus part of the second tranche of announcements was Rs 5,000 crore with which analysts agree.

"In today's tranche it is close to zero. Even the FM declined to answer how many of the amounts mentioned today were already part of the Expenditure Budget and how many are additional sums of money," he said.

Congress ally in Maharashtra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the package was disappointing.

CPIM leader Sitaram Yechury called the announcements "repackaging".

"Mega repackaging once again. Part 3 of the Rs 20 lakh crore financial package on agriculture deals more with post-COVID period rather than addressing the crisis itself and its devastating impact on rural India," he tweeted.

The BJP, meanwhile, accused the Congress of ideological bankruptcy.

"The Congress should have offered constructive support to the government in this time. But the party seems to have become a victim to ideological bankruptcy and insensitivity as well," senior leader Anil Baluni said in a statement.

Earlier this week, PM Modi had announced a cumulative package of Rs 20 lakh crore, nearly 10 per cent of India's GDP, to help various sections of the economy battered by coronavirus lockdown.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the government had made two tranches of announcements worth Rs 9.1 lakh crore, which included credit lines to smaller firms, concessional credit to farmers and support to shadow banking and electricity distributors.

With inputs from PTI