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Modi govt insincere towards people, eco package a rude shock: Kharge

He also said that the government lost a big opportunity to provide relief to the crores of migrant workers and the poor on one hand, and the industries on the other.

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Kharge

New Delhi, May 25 : The Congress on Monday hit out at the Narendra Modi-led government over its promise of Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, accusing it of being insincere towards the people, saying the package came as a rude shock for anyone who was expecting some respite.

In a statement, Congress General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge said that it has been 60 days since the lockdown was imposed and every sector of the Indian economy was facing a grave crisis.

“We needed a sector-wise plan and the government had 60 days of lockdown to plan for this. Sectors like tourism, hospitality, airlines, transport, retail, restaurants and construction needed very specific measures, given that they employ large numbers of people. But, it is clear from the measures announced last week that the government has either no sense of the crisis, or has plainly refused to address it to revive the economy,” he said.

Slamming the Centre, Kharge said that India’s GDP growth has been declining for the last six years, and the crisis was brewing even before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sudden shock of the lockdown has pushed the economy from a slowdown to a complete shutdown. The government needed to revive the economy by reviving supply, demand and credit cycle with its financial package. Instead, the economic package doesn’t just prove that the government is insincere, but has failed on all fronts,” he said.

Lamenting at the government over the economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his special address to nation earlier this month, Kharge said that announcements by the Prime Minister of the country should be made with a lot of deliberation and seriousness, especially during such an unprecedented crisis.

“The so called Rs 20 lakh crore economic package has now been analysed by the experts, and its total cost works out to less than one per cent of the GDP. It has come as a rude shock for anyone who was expecting some respite,” the Congress leader said.

Kharge said that the Prime Minister only “intends” to make grand headline news without taking his colleagues into confidence.

“That is perhaps why Finance Ministry was unprepared and put together such a shoddy package,” he said, adding that on May 5, the Chief Economic Advisor had specifically warned against a stimulus measure as large as Rs 20 lakh crore or 10 per cent of the GDP, saying India cannot afford it.

Kharge said that probably he was not aware that the Prime Minister was going to announce a Rs 20 lakh crore package a week later.

“In any case, it turned out that the package is worth less than one per cent of the GDP, but it shows how the government functions,” he said.

Taking a dig at the government, he further said that the economic package had no “immediate relief” for the agriculture sector, except for talking about reforms.

Today, the agriculture sector is the only bright spot which is expected to grow at 3 per cent when the GDP for the second quarter is expected to fall drastically, he said.

He further said that even top industrialists have asked direct cash transfer of Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,500 per month to the poor to boost demand.

“This would also ensure economic freedom for the poor and prevent at least 20 crore people from falling back into poverty. The government simply does not want to provide any direct relief to the poor, because it would mean endorsing the NYAY scheme that Rahul Gandhi had proposed,” Kharge said.

He also said that the government lost a big opportunity to provide relief to the crores of migrant workers and the poor on one hand, and the industries on the other.

“The relief package and the press conferences have not only exposed the apathy of the government towards the migrant workers, but also its arrogance and hypocrisy,” Kharge added.

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Unholy nexus of BJP govt and MNCs stands exposed: Congress

“If on June 16, hand sanitisers were essential commodities up till 30th December, 2020; what changed in 15 days? Why does the government want the people to be charged high prices? Why no price limit on these essentials to fight Covid-19? Is the war on Covid over?” Surjewala questioned.

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, July 10 : The Congress on Friday criticised the Narendra Modi government over its decision to remove face masks and hand sanitisers from the essential commodities list. It said that an “unholy nexus” between the BJP government and the MNCs stands exposed.

In a series of tweets, Congress national media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Opportunity in Adversity said the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). The unholy nexus of BJP government with MNCs/Companies of profiteering at the cost of people stands exposed. Government has removed face masks and hand sanitisers as essential commodities. Now, masks/hand sanitisers can be sold at any MRP.”

He further said, “On June 16, the BJP government had said — As lockdown has been relaxed, demand for hand sanitisers may increase & it should continue to be covered under EC Act till Dec 31, 2020.. ”its continued availability is of paramount importance” & “to ensure its availability at affordable rates.” Surjewala also attached a copy of the June 16 order in his tweet.

“If on June 16, hand sanitisers were essential commodities up till 30th December, 2020; what changed in 15 days? Why does the government want the people to be charged high prices? Why no price limit on these essentials to fight Covid-19? Is the war on Covid over?” Surjewala questioned.

His remarks came after the government”s decision to remove hand sanitisers and face masks from the essential commodities list. On Friday, India recorded 26,502 cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours taking the total tally to 7,93,802 cases with 21,604 fatalities due to the pandemic.

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Closed Markaz, no foreigners dims hopes for Nizamuddin shopkeepers

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

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Nizamuddin Markaz

New Delhi, July 10 : A group of five men in white kurta pyjamas wait outside the Nizamuddin Markaz for the local policeman to arrive. After some anxious moments, the policeman arrives on a motorcycle with the building”s key. It is time for afternoon prayers and only five people are permitted to offer prayers inside the Markaz five times a day. As he unlocks the gate, the five men walk in to offer Zohar Namaz.

Khaleeq, who has his small shop, selling skull caps, beads and other religious items, exactly opposite the Markaz entrance, feels that with foreigners gone from the area, the market will have a hard time to pick up.

“With the uncertainty on when foreigners would be allowed in Markaz now, the business at Nizamuddin market is badly hit. Most of the shops here are based on the foreigners” needs and demands. With no foreign customers, we are facing heavy losses,” he said.

The worst affected are money exchange shops which were mostly dependent on foreigners” visit to Markaz.

Ahmed Uzair, a banker who resides in Nizamuddin, believes that the market might now pay the price of being too much dependent on foreign customers attending the jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz.

“Many shopkeepers are vacating their shops as they are unable to pay the rent. Many have packed up and went to their native places as they see a bleak future of what was once a flourishing market,” Uzair said.

After de-containment of Nizamuddin, the barricades present at the main road leading to Nizamuddin Markaz has been removed now but there are little or no customers in the market.

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

“Not just foreigners but visitors from other states in India formed the backbone for the survival of this market. It”s facing a tough time now and it seems it will continue for some time,” said Shamshad Ahmed, another shopkeeper in the area.

The Markaz was closed since the lockdown and on the night of March 29, police and health authorities started bringing people out from the Markaz and sent them to hospitals and quarantine facilities.

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PIL in Gujarat HC for saffron symbol on ”Made in India” products

It also sought the government assign different coloured symbols on products, so that an illiterate or semi-literate person can also recognise the place of origin.

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Gujarat High Court

Gandhinagar, July 9 : The Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the Centre and state governments on a PIL seeking colour coded symbols on products sold online, so that ignorant or illiterate persons can also recognise the place of the origin of the product and seeking direction to assign saffron coloured symbol to products ”Made in India.”

Ahmedabad resident Yatin Soni, in his PIL, said that the products that are sold on online platforms and web portals do not inform the prospective consumers about the manufacturing place of the product, the origin of the manufacturers and other details, which violates the fundamental rights of freedom of information ensured to Indian citizens.

After the ”Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, any prospective consumer, when ordering products from online platforms and web portals, should be allowed to avail of the information of the country where the product is manufactured, the nationality of the manufacturer et al, it said, adding that, at present there is no provision in law that mandates the manufacturer to display such information.

The PIL seeks directions to the Centre and the Gujarat government to mandate the manufacturer displays, on the web portal information about whether a particular product is manufactured by Indian company and in India, whether it is manufactured by an Indian company but outside India, whether it is manufactured by a foreign company in a foreign land, or in India, and if the manufacturer is an multinational company (MNC), the share of the Indian partner.

It also sought the government assign different coloured symbols on products, so that an illiterate or semi-literate person can also recognise the place of origin.

Apart for a saffron symbol for India-made products, it sought blue colour for Indian manufacturer producing product outside India, red for foreign company manufacturing outside India, yellow for products by foreign manufacturer produced in India and pink colour for products by MNCs.

The PIL also mentioned that after the Galwan valley incident – where 20 Indian soldiers were killed by the Chinese, there were many Indian customers who wanted to boycott Chinese products.

Soni said that the high court, after issuing notice, had slated the next hearing for July 29.

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