Ahead of the Budget Session, the Congress on Thursday demanded that the government initiate cash transfers and reduce taxes.
Addressing a joint press conference, Congress leaders P. Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and Mallikarjun Kharge said, “As regards the economy, what needs to be done to stem the decline and accelerate the recovery have been identified by a number of economists, including those who have supported the Modi government in the past.”
“The government must impart a large fiscal stimulus to the economy, even if it is belated. Such a stimulus alone will put money in the hands of the people,” they said.
The Congress leaders asked the Centre to make direct cash transfers to 20-30 per cent of the families who are at the bottom of the economy for a period of at least six months.
The Congress also asked the government to formulate and implement a rescue plan for MSMEs to revive closed units, recover lost jobs and create new jobs for those who have moderate education and skills, and also reduce tax rates, especially GST and other indirect tax rates on petrol and diesel.
The party said the government should increase government capital expenditure and encourage public sector banks to lend without fear of investigative agencies probing every loan.
The Congress prescription for the economy included abandoning protectionist policies, re-engage with the world, enter into bilateral trade agreements with as many countries as possible, and remove the bias against imports. Formulate sector-specific revival packages for Telecommunication, Power, Mining, Construction, Aviation and Tourism & Hospitality.
“Review and rescind amendments to tax laws that have been widely viewed as tax terrorism. Initiate a comprehensive and time-bound review of the regulations made by RBI, SEBI, TRAI, CERC and other regulatory agencies that have been widely regarded as over-regulation,” Chidambaram said.
However the Congress leaders said they had no expectations from this government.
“Our effort today is to highlight the wrong policies, the incompetent economic management and the missed opportunities, and 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 5 per cent.”