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'Chastened by Note Ban Debacle', Govt Oblivious to Farmers' Plight: Congress

File photo of Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. (PTI photo)

File photo of Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. (PTI photo)

A day after finance minister Arun Jaitley announced the Union Budget 2017, Congress came out all guns blazing, saying the budget neglected "farmers, micro & medium businesses (MSMEs)," who were hit badly by demonetisation.

New Delhi: A day after finance minister Arun Jaitley announced the Union Budget 2017, Congress came out all guns blazing, saying the budget neglected "farmers, micro & medium businesses (MSMEs)," who were hit badly by demonetisation.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, P Chidambaram said, "There was acute distress in the farming sector. The government seemed oblivious to the plight of the farming community," adding, "Budget had no answers to the problems caused by demonetisation."

Reiterating the words of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who called the budget 2017 "a damp squib" outside parliament on Wednesday, Chidambaram said: "Our conclusion, on reading all the budget documents was that the exercise had turned out to be a damp squib. He also added that the budget had "no new strategy" to revive "private investment".

Micro & medium businesses that were worst-hit as a result of demonetisation drive, according to Chidambaram, "Country will pay heavily for the closure of MSMEs due to demonetisation... FY18 GDP growth will be worse than what the budget projected.

Taking a jibe at Modi government, he said, "The most important positive was that the government seemed chastened by the debacle of demonetisation and had not done anything reckless or disruptive in the budget."

Congress party, however, appreciated Arun Jaitley's move to curtail corruption in the funding of political parties by bringing down the amount of donation from a single source to Rs 2,000 from Rs, 20,000.

Speaking of BJP and Narendra Modi's promises during the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Chidambaram said: "The most vocal demand of the people was jobs... NDA promised to generate 2 crore jobs... but so far it has created only 1.5 lakh jobs in 2015-16."

first published:February 02, 2017, 18:38 IST