Former Union Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that if necessary, the government must print money to support its expenditure.
The Congress leader, while addressing a press conference said, "If necessary, the Government must print money. We have space and sovereign right to print money and if at any point the Government feels that too much is being printed, it can always stop printing it."
He said, "at the moment, I think, printing money is clearly advised. I am very happy that someone, so distinguished as Dr. Abhijit Banerjee has supported the idea. There are many other economists, who have recommended that the Government must print money to support its expenditure."
When asked about the impact of the fiscal deficit on announcements made in the budget about the healthcare sector, like vaccination and other programmes, the former Union Minister said, "This is not the time to worry about the fiscal deficit. For 2021-2022, they have projected a fiscal deficit of about 5.5. What if it becomes 6.5, so what? According to me, it doesn't make any difference at all, it should not make a difference, and it should not stop us."
"What we need is, we cannot lose another year like we have lost the whole of the last year and I am afraid, the way this government is reacting, it is going to lose another year. Fortunately, we are only at the beginning of June, we still have 10 months. This is the time to act, this the time to act boldly and decisively- borrow and spend. If necessary- print money and spend on health care, spend on infrastructure," he said.
The former union minister said that no one can predict when things will get better as it is not known whether there will be a third and fourth wave of coronavirus pandemic.
The senior Congress leader said, "No one can predict when things will get better, because we do not know whether there will be a third wave or a fourth wave. All we can say is, if you do not do the steps that we are advocating, things will not get better. Would you rather quietly sit, do nothing. This will certainly result in disaster."
He further added, that is why the number of people are recommending- "Take steps, bold decisive steps now' and try to see whether you can ward off a greater disaster."
"Unless you take steps now, how will you prevent the consequences of a third wave or a fourth wave, this is the mistake they made last year, they did not take the steps that we advocated, and when the second wave came, they were unprepared both on the health infrastructure side and on the economic management side," he added.