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It's Not a Package, but Another Sham: Rahul Gandhi Slams Govt's Stimulus Measures

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (Image: AFP)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (Image: AFP)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced Rs 1.5 lakh crore of additional credit for small and medium businesses, more funds for the healthcare sector, loans to tourism agencies and guides, and waiver of visa fee for foreign tourists as part of the package to support the economy.

The Congress on Tuesday hit out at the government over the stimulus measures announced by it to support the pandemic-hit economy, with former party chief Rahul Gandhi saying no family can spend the economic package on its daily needs and it was nothing “but another sham". Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced Rs 1.5 lakh crore of additional credit for small and medium businesses, more funds for the healthcare sector, loans to tourism agencies and guides, and waiver of visa fee for foreign tourists as part of the package to support the economy.

Reacting to the government’s stimulus package for the economy, Gandhi said, “No family can spend FM’s ‘economic package’ on their living-food-medicine-child’s school fees." “It’s not a package, but another sham!" he said in a tweet in Hindi. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also criticised the government over the package and said the answer to this “crisis" is to spur demand by putting money in the hands of the people, especially the poor and the lower middle classes.

“Some elementary truths: Credit guarantee is not credit. Credit is more debt. No banker will lend to a debt-ridden business," Chidambaram said. Debt-burdened or cash-starved businesses do not want more credit, they need non-credit capital, the former finance minister said in a series of tweets.

“More supply does not mean more demand (consumption). On the contrary, more demand (consumption) will trigger more supply," he said. Demand will not grow in an economy where jobs have been lost and incomes or wages have been reduced, Chidambaram argued.

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“The answer to this crisis is to put money in the hands of the people, especially the poor and lower-middle classes," he said. The Congress had on Monday claimed that the measures announced by the Finance Minister “delivered nothing but headlines" and said the government should take steps to spur demand to revive the economy “which continues to be in the doldrums".

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