Chidambaram flays ‘reckless Pakodanomics’ and ‘half-cup-of tea’ scheme
P Chidambaram said there was little to be happy about the interim budget but the saving grace was the Govt had not broken the convention of not releasing the economic survey on an election year
In the 10-point vision document presented by NSSO , two words, ‘Education and Jobs’, were conspicuous by their absence, quipped Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram while addressing the media after presentation of the ‘interim budget’ on Friday.
Accusing the Government of having cheated children and the youth, the former union minister said, ‘there is nothing about jobs because if they say anything about jobs, the youth will dismiss it as ‘Pakodanomics’ and there is nothing about Education because the Government do not seem to be aware of the ACER report on academic attainment by children in school.
Referring to NITI AAYOG’s stand that NSSO data on unemployment had not been approved by the Government, the former union minister said that NSSO was a semi-autonomous organisation and its reports were never approved by the cabinet or the Prime Minister. But the way the Government is reacting, there will no longer be any valid data but there will be only ‘approved data’.
The NSSO report, accessed by financial daily Business Standard, showed unemployment in 2017-18 to have been the highest in 45 years since 1971-72 . But the government, Chidambaram pointed out, didn’t have a word about jobs in the vision statement. “The government doesn't have a word on what it intends to do about reforming education both quantitatively and qualitatively,” he said.
The Minimum Income Guarantee scheme announced by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he said, would be a far better designed scheme that the ‘half-a-cup-of tea’ scheme of Piyush Goyal
The NSSO ‘s survey report on unemployment was duly approved by the National Statistical Commission and was due to be released in December. But after the NSSO was advised by the government not to release it, the chairman of the NSC and a member resigned last week.
Describing the scheme meant to deliver ₹6,000 to each farmer, the former finance minister pointed out that it worked out to ₹500 per month or ₹17 per day. If a farm family has five members, it amounted to three and a half Rupees per head, which would not fetch even half a cup of tea.
The Minimum Income Guarantee scheme announced by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he said, would be a far better designed scheme that the ‘half-a-cup-of tea’ scheme of Piyush Goyal. Refusing to give details of MIG, the former union minister said that the contours of the scheme would be revealed in the party’s manifesto which will be released in a month or so.
The interim budget, he said, turned out to be a full budget and confirmed once again how reckless and desperate the Modi Government is.