Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails the announcements of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the welfare of farmers and migrant workers, saying it will benefit them. The Congress launches a scathing attack on the government after the Finance Minister announced a slew of measures for the migrants who are moving back to their respective states.
“Today’s announcement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will especially benefit our farmers and migrant workers. The announcements include a series of progressive measures and will boost food security, credit to farmers as well as street vendors,” Modi tweeted.
His remarks followed Sitharaman’s second tranche of economic stimulus package announced here to benefit migrant workers, street vendors and small farmers. Sitharaman tried to assuage the economic concerns of farmers, workers and street vendors on Thursday with a mega package offering everything – loans, interest subventions and cheap housing.
On the second day of detailing the mega Rs 20 lakh crore economic package (nearly 10 per cent of GDP) under the Centre’s ‘Self-Reliant India Movement’ which was earlier announced by the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister doled out massive loan components for agriculture and the housing sector.
This included a Rs 1.7 lakh crore package comprising free foodgrains and cash to the poor for three months announced in March, and Rs 5.6 lakh crore stimulus provided through various monetary policy measures by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The remainder of the Rs 20 lakh crore package is being announced in tranches — Sitharman had in the first tranche on Wednesday unveiled a Rs 5.94 lakh crore plan that mostly comprises off-budget items such as Rs 3 lakh crore of credit line to small businesses as support to shadow banks and electricity distributors.
The Congress has launched a scathing attack on the government after the Finance Minister announced a slew of measures for the migrants who are moving back to their respective states.
The government has announced migrants who neither come under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) nor are state card beneficiaries in states will be benefited.
Congress spokesperson and former Union minister Manish Tewari on Thursday said while addressing a press conference that “the migrants who are walking towards their homes are left to the mercy of God and if they reach home the government is offering 5 kg rice or wheat and 1 kg of gram, its pathetic.”
The Congress alleged that the government is giving wrong figures on migrants as the government said there are 8 crore migrants but the reality is that 11 crore migrants are in the country as per 2011 census and which has increased in these years.
Party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate added that “government should give direct cash transfer to the pockets to enhance the demand and this is not more than Rs 65,000 crore while the so called stimulus package is only ‘loan Mela’.”
The Congress lashed out at the Finance Minister on her statement that states should take care of the migrants as “why should the states be responsible when lockdown was announced by Prime Minister on a 4-hour notice” said Tewari.
The Congress questioned that of Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus only Rs 3,500 crore is given to the people who are worst hit due to lockdown.”
A day after the PM-CARES Fund trust announced Rs 1000 crore for the migrants, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said that the money will go directly to the state governments, and not in the hands of the migrants.
In a statement former finance minister said, “PM-CARES has allocated Rs 1000 crore for migrant workers. Please don’t make the common mistake. The money will not be given to the migrant workers but to the State governments to meet the expenses on travel, accommodation, medicine and food for the migrant workers. But nothing will go into the hands of the migrant workers.”
Chidambaram said that a migrant worker who has crossed all hurdles and returned to his village has no jobs. He has no work and no income. How will he survive and support his family?
The Congress has been demanding package for the migrant labourers who have been walking across the country to reach their villages.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Chidambaram, while addressing a press conference in Delhi, said, “There is nothing in what the FM said for the lakhs of poor, hungry and devastated migrant workers who have walked and many thousands are still walking back to their home states. This is a cruel blow dealt to those who toil every day.”
“There is also nothing by way of cash transfer to the bottom half of the population (13 crore families) who have been pushed into destitution. Only yesterday, Prof Thomas Piketty pleaded for cash transfers to the poor,” added Chidambaram. (IANS)