Government's Economic Policy A "Betrayal", Says P Chidambaram

The former finance minister also asked whether the government will suggest the International Labour Organisation to include those selling pakodas in its definition for employment.

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Government's Economic Policy A 'Betrayal', Says P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram sought replies to 12 questions from the government relating to the economy. (File)


New Delhi:  The opposition today targetted the government over agrarian crisis, unemployment and other issues, with Congress leader P Chidambaram dubbing its economic policy as a "betrayal" of the country and saying all norms of fiscal prudence have been thrown out of the window.

The 40-minute speech of Mr Chidambaram, who initiated the debate on the 2018-19 budget in the Rajya Sabha, witnessed continuous ruckus and sloganeering by ruling BJP members who sought an apology from the Congress for such disruptions during the prime minister's speech in Lok Sabha yesterday.

Mr Chidambaram continued to target the government in a loud pitch and sought replies 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.

Taking a dig, the former finance minister also asked whether the government will suggest the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to include those selling pakodas in its definition for employment.

As soon as the Rajya Sabha convened at 2 pm after an almost 90-minute adjournment, several BJP members stood up and demanded an apology from the Congress for disrupting the prime minister's speech in the Lok Sabha yesterday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar supported them, saying the main opposition party must apologise for its conduct during the PM's speech in the lower house yesterday.

Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad termed the ruckus in the house as a failure of the government.

Derek O'Brien of Trimanool Congress 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.

To this, Mr Kumar said "the government wants the house to run. We want to have a full discussion on the budget but if there are issues disturbing the members, they have full right to raise the issue."

Amid loud protests by BJP, members from BJP ally TDP and YSR Congress stormed the Well carrying placards with slogans like "Help Fight for Justice to Andhra Pradesh" and "Keep Your Promise", demanding Special Status for the state.

Following the uproar, CPM leader T K Rangarajan, who was in the chair then, repeatedly appealed for order but was ultimately forced to adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes.

However, the protests resumed as soon as the house reconvened, with Deputy Leader of Opposition Anand Sharma saying it is "most unfortunate" that the parliamentary affairs minister was encouraging disruptions. He said the Congress had cooperated for smooth functioning of the house after a word with the chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, but in vain.
 


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