This Article is From Apr 01, 2021

'Oversight Or Poll-Driven Hindsight?': Priyanka Gandhi On Nirmala Sitharaman's Interest Rate U-Turn

The Centre yesterday cut interest rates on small savings schemes by up to 1.1 per cent.

'Oversight Or Poll-Driven Hindsight?': Priyanka Gandhi On Nirmala Sitharaman's Interest Rate U-Turn

Priyanka Gandhi hinted that Nirmala Sitharaman's U-turn was influenced by the ongoing polls.

New Delhi:

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi today asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman if the Centre's overnight flip-flop on small savings scheme interest rates was a case of "oversight" as claimed or one of election-driven "hindsight". She tweeted shortly after the latter posted on the microblogging site early this morning withdrawing the steep cuts in rates announced yesterday, the last day of Financial Year 2020-2021. The Trinamool Congress, battling the BJP furiously in West Bengal, also mocked the Union government.

Yesterday's announcement by the Finance Ministry saw interest rates on schemes such as the National Savings Certificates and Public Provident Fund (PPF) being cut of up to 1.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2021-22 in a massive blow to middle-class depositors. With this, the PPF rates stood at a four-decade low.

However, Ms Sitharaman announced this morning that last evening's orders were a case of "oversight". She tweeted: "Interest rates of small savings schemes of GoI shall continue to be at the rates which existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021, ie, rates that prevailed as of March 2021. Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn. @FinMinIndia @PIB_India."

Less than an hour later, the Congress General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh responded with her query.

Ms Gandhi was likely hinting at the government's damage control amid Assembly elections in five states, phase-II polling for which is on today in states like West Bengal and Assam.

Her party colleague asked Ms Sitharaman if she was running government or a circus.

The Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien was even more direct in mocking the Centre. His party is fighting a major battle in West Bengal where the opposition BJP is looking to topple Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's decade-old government.

In a self-deprecatory tweet, former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who recently joined the Trinamool, compared the Centre's turnaround on interest rates to his own time in the ministry.

"Roll Back Modi" he tweeted, playing on the reputation he himself had earned: