No measures to trigger growth in Budget, says P Chidambaram

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Chennai: Accusing the Union Government of “throwing to the wind every ethical principle” by providing no compensation to those affected by demonetisation in the Budget, former Union finance minister P. Chidambaram on Friday contended that the GDP would flatten at 6.5 per cent not just in the next fiscal, but well into 2018-2019.

Presenting a critical analysis of the Union Budget presented in Parliament on Wednesday at the Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) here, Mr Chidambaram ripped apart the NDA Government and finance minister Arun Jaitely for presenting a document that offers no “trigger to growth” and no measures to ramp up the growth rate.

Terming demonetisation a “terrible, cardinal” mistake for which no amendments have been made in the Union Budget, he said the financial document presented by the finance minister did not spell out any strategy on creation of jobs as the top brass of the government promised creation of 2 crore jobs every year during the 2014 election campaign.

“One can sense that there is a great concern for jobs. What has this budget done for jobs? Nothing. There is no strategy to create jobs, no policy measures to create jobs,” he said, adding that 1.5 lakh jobs were created during 2015-16, while only 70,000 were created during 2016-17.

The budget did not address the key issues of economic growth and job creation and did not have any ‘triggers’ for key components like government and public investment besides consumption, Mr Chidambaram said.

“This government refuses to acknowledge that growth has declined and the latest Economic Survey mentions that the growth will 0.25 to 0.50 per cent lass the new normal. It is a convoluted way of saying that growth will dip by 1%. The GDP is taking a hit of 1 per cent straightaway and 1 per cent of GDP equals to Rs 1.50 lakh crore. This is the straight price we are paying for a bad decision,” Mr Chidambaram said.

Noting that the farming sector is one of the most affected sectors, the former finance minister accused the government of doing nothing to rescue them out of the demonetisation mess.

He also noted that Tamil Nadu, which has hitherto not witnessed farmers suicide, has reported 200 such cases and blamed the Union government for pushing farmers further into crisis.

Anger, anxiety about future behind students’ protest: PC

Jallikattu was just the “surface” of the protest by youngsters and students at the Marina beach here, but deep down there is “angst, anger and anxiety” about the future as there is concern about “divisiveness, polarisation and religious conflict” in the country, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram said.

Addressing students at the Loyola Institute of Business Administration here, Mr Chidambaram spoke about issues that concern the youth and took a subtle dig at those advocating ban on beef and books.

“If you think that the thousands of men and women who gathered at the Marina had come to protest the ban on jallikattu, you are only looking at the surface. Deep down there is angst, there is anger, there is anxiety about the future,” he said.

“There is concern about divisiveness, there is concern about polarisation, there is concern about religious conflict, there is concern about intolerance— you can eat this, you can’t eat that, you can wear this you can’t wear that, you can love somebody, you cannot love somebody, you can marry somebody, you cannot marry somebody. “Ban books, ban authors, ban beef, ban jazz, ban jeans. Young people are very concerned about these issues,” he said. This is the first comment by Mr Chidambaram on the recent protest at the Marina beach demanding conduct of jallikattu.

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