Sitharaman rebuts Chidambaram point-by-point, reiterates budget figures realistic

New Delhi, July 12, 2019-

Giving point-by-point rebuttal to senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said in the Rajya Sabha that all revenue targets in the budget are realistic and India will become a $5 trillion economy in the next five years.

In her reply on Budget in the Upper House, she said that Chidambaram had not made like-to-like comparison over income tax and custom duty collections and had therefore perhaps arrived at wrong conclusions.

In a jibe to Chidambaram on his remarks on making India $5 trillion economy, the Minister said that the target was not without a plan. She listed out various measures to spur investment, raise household savings and achieve the mid-term goal of India becoming a $5 trillion economy.

Chidambaram had on Thursday doubling the size of economy was just a simple arithmetic and that any moneylender can explain that.

“If that is the case, why all of us are sitting here? Economy will anyway double,” Sitharaman said.

On observations that Modi government had not taken any major structural reforms, the Minister asked what were GST and insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC). She then listed out almost half a dozen policy actions claiming they would bring structural change in the economy.

The Minister noted that government had taken comprehensive steps to resolve the issue of non-performing assets (NPAs) and improve the health of public sector banks.

She said that bank recapitalisation had happened to the extent of Rs 3,19,497 crore in the last five years and further steps have been taken to make the banking system robust.

The Minister said that government would continue on the path of fiscal consolidation but it does not mean allocation for various social sector schemes would be reduced.

She named various schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREA), PM Kisan and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) among others for which allocation has been raised. In case, the allocation has been retained to a previous year level, it will be raised depending on the need for it.

On central transfer to states, the Minister said it had been on the rise in the last few years.  (Agency)

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