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I am a member of Tukde Tukde gang: Chidambaram
P Chidambaram
Image Credit: Twitter/Congress

I am a member of Tukde Tukde gang: Chidambaram

| @indiablooms | 08 Feb 2022, 04:15 pm

New Delhi/UNI: Calling himself a member of the so-called "Tukde Tukde gang", Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday attacked the PM Narendra Modi government on numerous counts which ranged from the economy to Covid-19 mismanagement.

"I am a member of the Tukde Tukde gang," he said in the Rajya Sabha, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged that the Congress was leading the "Tukde Tukde gang".

Chidambaram said when asked who were the members of the "Tukde Tukde Gang", the government replied that it had no information.

"I am a member of the 'Tukde-Tukde Gang', which is the Hindi version of the word disruption. I am not worried because in this Parliament a question was asked who are its members and the Minister said 'we have no data available on it'".

"There is no data on oxygen shortage deaths, bodies flowing in the rivers, no data available on how migrants walked back home, no data on doubling farming income. This is a no data available (NDA) government," Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram said the budget had nothing for the poor and the word "poor" was mentioned just twice in the Minister's speech.

The word "job"' came thrice, he said.

"One thing I liked about the Finance Minister's speech. It was her shortest speech - 90 minutes," the former Finance Minister of the country said.

The Congress leader said 60 lakh MSMEs have been closed, 84 per cent households have suffered loss of income, per capita income and expenditure has declined, 4.6 crore people have been pushed into extreme poverty, there is huge learning loss among school children, malnutrition and stunting has increased and India's ranking in the Global Hunger Index has fallen to 101 among 116 countries.

"The top 10 per cent of India garner 57 per cent of the national income and hold 77 per cent of the nation's wealth. You are creating wealth for whom? The 140 billionaires? Or crony capitalists? If wealth is not shared, who are you creating wealth for?" he asked.

He also said that while the government claimed its capital expenditure would push economic growth, the revised estimates were high only because the one time debt payment for Air India was included in it.

"On capital expenditure, in 2021-22 the Budget estimates projected Rs. 5,54,236 crore. This Budget also raised great emphasis on capital expenditure, that it will drive growth," he said.

"Revised estimate came as a pleasant surprise, it was Rs. 60,27,11 crore, until we went into fine print and found it includes one-time debt payment of Air India of Rs 51,971 crore. That is not a capital expenditure it's repaying the bank. If you deduct that amount it will be about Rs. 5,52,000 crore, which is less than the Budget estimate," he said.

"Last year the FM projected 2021-22 fiscal deficit at 6.8 per cent. I cautioned you it will not be contained at 6.8 per cent, they have actually done better, they have done 6.9... On disinvestment, target was fixed as Rs 1,75,000 crore, I cautioned it will be mindless disinvestment. Grateful to govt for accepting our caution and collecting only Rs 78,000 crore against the target," he said.

He said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government would privatize two public sector banks and one insurance company. "There is no word in this budget about what happened."

"The Railways said 151 passenger trains will be bid out to the private sector and there was tremendous response to this announcement. There were zero bids on this announcement. Why do you make these announcements? Some of these are bad announcement, why do you make them?"

He said out of 139 crore population of India, the work force was 94 crore.

"The labour force participation rate is 37.5 per cent which translates to 52 crore... The government promised 2 crore jobs a year. They should report to us how many jobs were created," he said.

He also said that the Budget speech said 60 lakh jobs will be created in five years.

"That is about 12 lakh jobs a year. Annual addition to labour force is 47.5 lakhs. What would others do? Fry and sell pakoras?" Chidambaram, who spoke after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said it was because of the Congress that the Rajya Sabha was not a Chamber of Princes any more.

"Had Congress not been there, this House would still be under Government of India Act 1919 the Council of Princes and instead of us there would have been bejeweled rulers sitting and speaking in praise of Queen Elizabeth II who would have completed 70 years on the throne. Thank god for Congress we have a Rajya Sabha and we speak here," Chidambaram said.

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