'FM to present dressed-up revised estimates for 2020-21 in Budget'

FM to present dressed-up revised estimates for 2020-21 in Budget

New Delhi: A day before the commencement of Budget Session of the Parliament, Congress on Thursday alleged that seven years of the Narendra Modi government have "wrecked" the economy and high growth prospects. The Congress further said that it is afraid that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present "dressed-up" revised estimates for 2020-21 in the upcoming Budget session and attempt to build an attractive narrative for the coming fiscal year.

The opposition party demanded a large fiscal stimulus to the economy, asserting that such a step alone will put money in the hands of people and stimulate demand.

At a Press conference, former finance minister P Chidambaram also demanded that the government should make direct cash transfers to 20-30 per cent of the families at the bottom of the economy at least for a period of six months.

The Congress believes that the reality is that the economy is in a recession, the recovery will be slow and painful, and the "rate of GDP growth in 2021-22 (in constant prices) will be modest -- no more than five per cent", Chidambaram further said.

"We are afraid that the FM will present a dressed-up Revised Estimates for 2020-21 and attempt to build an attractive narrative for 2021-22. The RE for 2020-21 will be a set of false numbers and, therefore, the BE for 2021-22 will be a conjurer's illusion," Chidambaram said, reading out a party statement at the press conference with senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Mallikarjuna Kharge by his side.

Sitharaman is scheduled to present the annual Union Budget in Parliament on Monday.

"Even without the pandemic, the economy would have continued on the downward path that had begun in the first quarter of 2018-19 and continued for eight successive quarters. The pandemic pushed the economy into an abyss -- minus 23.9 per cent in Q1 of 2020-21 and minus 7.5 per cent in Q2," he said, adding that the incumbent finance minister has the distinction of presiding over the first recession in four decades.

However, the party has urged the government to recapitalise the public sector banks immediately and encourage them to lend without the fear of investigative agencies probing every loan.

Meanwhile, TMC leader Sukhendu Shekhar Roy also attacked the Centre.

"The Govt has miserably failed to arrest the skyrocketing price rise of essential commodities since such commodities were taken out of the EC Act ensuring hoarding and profiteering, the highest ever fall in GDP, intolerable rise in prices of petrol, diesel, kerosin and cooking gas. Govt has also taken inhumane attitude towards our Annadata by not responding to their demand for repeal of three black acts relating to cultivation and marketing of agricultural produce. This has been done at the instance of the Crony Capitalists. Anyone who is opposed to Govt is termed as anti national," he said.

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