Suspend Central Vista & bullet train projects in view of COVID-19, demands Congress

As the country is struggling to manage resources in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic, Congress attacked the Modi government on Friday for indulging in “wasteful and vanity expenditure”

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala (Photo Courtesy: PTI)
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NH Political Bureau

As the country is struggling to manage resources in the fight against Coronavirus pandemic, Congress attacked the Modi government on Friday for indulging in “wasteful and vanity expenditure”.

Saying that instead of easing out common man’s pain, the Modi government is hurting them, Congress demanded suspension of the Central Vista plan and Bullet train projects – which will cost 20,000 crore and 5,600 crore respectively to the public exchequer.

It is important to note here that the Rs. 1.10 lakh crore bullet train project is being built with help from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which will fund 81% of the total project cost through a 50-year loan at an interest rate of 0.1%. Modi government has so far allocated 5,600 crores for the project.

Addressing journalists thorough video conferencing, head of the Congress media department, Randeep Surjewala blasted the Modi government for issuing “a shocking order whereby Government of India proceeded to, from back date to cut the Dearness Allowance, Dearness Pay of 113 lakh Central government employees and pensioners”.

“The tragic part is that by deducting this amount from 1st January 2020 up to 30th June 2021, that is for a period of 1.5 years, Government of India proceeds to deduct almost Rs 38 thousand crore from the income of these middle-class government employees and pensioners, who rely completely on the pay and pension that they receive,” said Surjewala while addressing the media.

Saying that the Modi government has not even spared the armed forces, Surjewala said that Rs 11 thousand crore, of the 15-lakh serving armed forces personnel and nearly 26 lakh military pensioners, have been deducted by the Modi government.

“Instead of curbing the wasteful expenditure of the government, the Modi Government has been constantly hitting at the income of Government employees and the middle-class people. This is not the first time in the last 30 days that they have proceeded to do so; please remember that only recently in March, 2020, the government had proceeded to reduce the interest across the board of 1-1.5% on all national savings schemes,” said Surjewala.

“Not only that, the State Bank of India had reduced its interest rate on savings bank accounts from Rs. 3.25 to 3% and on fixed deposit by half percent. By these two steps alone, the Government of India had deducted Rs 19,000 crore annually from the 30 crore depositors and the national savings scheme and of the 44 crore 51 lakh depositors in State Bank of India by reduction of interests on FDs and on saving accounts, they have lost annually interest component of Rs 9,429 crore,” asserted Surjewala.

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