P Chidambaram - India News

We have a duopoly of two vaccines, but they are hardly sufficient to vaccinate a nation of 138 crore people: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

What does one say when the government wants to call the vaccination drive an “utsav”? By no stretch of imagination can it be a festival. The vaccination drive is a crusade.

Having messed up the management of the production and supply sides of the vaccines, the government is covering up its massive failure through rhetoric and hyperbole.

We were the first to demand universal vaccination and get rid of the silly app and the need for pre-registration. Vaccination must be a walk-in programme

Government must immediately provide funds to ramp up production in India and increase supplies.

Government must also authorise the use of more approved vaccines and allow their manufacture or import.

We have a duopoly of two vaccines, but they are hardly sufficient to vaccinate a nation of 138 crore people.

The polarisation of society that is taking place in West Bengal is the gravest tragedy that has befallen that state: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram - India News

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

I cannot recall in recent years any case of police firing on voting day during elections resulting in 4 deaths.

It is a case of a failure of leadership and management of the deployment of security personnel. Who should bear responsibility?

The EC should be held responsible because it has made large scale transfers and postings of senior police officers in West Bengal.

The polarisation of society that is taking place in West Bengal, thanks to the BJP, is the gravest tragedy that has befallen that state.

I cannot believe that the land of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Ishwar Chander Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose Satyajit Ray and Dr B C Roy can fall prey to the virus of communalism.

Anyone who claims the legacy of these great leaders — as I proudly do — should shun and fight communalism.

P Chidambaram - India News

The Centre is targeting Maharashtra on the spread of COVID-19 ignoring hard facts: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

The Centre is targeting Maharashtra on the spread of COVID-19 ignoring hard facts

Maharashtra has vaccinated 80 per cent of healthcare workers. Nearly 20 states are behind Maharashtra

Maharashtra has vaccinated 73 per cent of frontline workers. Only 5 states have done better

In vaccinating senior citizens, Maharashtra stands fifth in the country

These facts are from the Union Health Minister’s statement!

The Union Health Minister should stand before a mirror and ask the question if the Centre has supplied enough vaccine doses to Maharashtra

The Centre has made a complete mess of the vaccination programme including the non-supply of sufficient doses of vaccines

P Chidambaram - India News

The need of the hour is walk-in vaccination to all age groups without any pre-registration: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

IMA has called for universal vaccination.

Several CMs have demanded universal vaccination. Yet the central government says there is no need for universal vaccination

The need of the hour is walk-in vaccination to all age groups without any pre-registration.

Because of its unscientific and stubborn stance, the government has allowed the number of infections to gallop every day. A grave catastrophe awaits the country.

There is no government of any democratic country in the world that has been so callous as the Modi government.

From demonetisation to the botched vaccination programme, Indians are paying a huge price for the WRONG policies of the BJP government

A gross betrayal of the Tamil people and their unanimous sentiment and desire: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

India abstained from voting on the Resolution on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council.

This is a gross betrayal of the Tamil people and their unanimous sentiment and desire.

The people of Tamil Nadu must and will punish the AIADMK- BJP alliance for this grievous blow to the interests of the Tamils.

If Dr S Jaishankar was forced to instruct India’s representative to abstain from voting on the Sri Lanka Resolution in the UN Human Rights Council, he should resign in protest against the betrayal of Tamil interests.

P Chidambaram - India News

The proposed amendments to the GNCTD Act will make the Delhi government less than a municipality

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

The proposed amendments to the GNCTD Act that applies to Delhi are retrograde, anti-democratic and an insult to the people of Delhi.

The demand is for enlarged legislative powers to Delhi and the will of the people.

On the contrary, the proposed amendments will make the Delhi government less than a municipality and rob the people of any kind of representative government.

Under the proposed amendments, the LG appointed by the central government will become a Viceroy exercising all powers according to the wishes of his master.

The people must resist the amendments. The Opposition must vote against the amendments.

This is what the world is reading, not the glorious stories reported in the fawning media in India..: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

TIME magazine has highlighted India’s rank in two indices:

In the World Press Freedom Index, India ranks 142 out of 180 countries

In the Human Freedom Index India is at 111 out of 162 countries

That is what the world is reading, not the glorious stories reported in the fawning media in India

P Chidambaram - India News
P Chidambaram - India News

Only 6% of farmers are able to sell at MSP: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

The reward to the farm sector for growing at 3.9% in a recession year is to treat the protesting farmers as if they were enemies of the state

The PM travels from Kerala to Assam but does not have the time or inclination to travel 20 kms to meet the farmers on the border of Delhi

Yet he will claim that he has doubled the farmers’ income

He will also claim that all farmers get MSP when the truth is only 6% of farmers are able to sell at MSP

P Chidambaram - India News

The farmers are voters. So are migrant workers, MSMEs, the unemployed and the very poor families.. : P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

Does the Modi government still believe that the Farm Laws are popular and only a small “section” of farmers of Punjab are protesting against them?

MEA is fast losing credibility by becoming the Ministry of Extraordinary Apologists for the government’s wrong domestic policies

The farmers are voters. So are migrant workers, MSMEs, the unemployed and the very poor families.

When it is their turn, they will vote against the BJP like the Punjab voters

Why has Munawar Faruqui not been released from jail despite an order of interim bail granted by the Supreme Court yesterday morning? : P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram - India News

P Chidambaram, Former Finance Minister :

Why has Munawar Faruqui not been released from jail despite an order of interim bail granted by the Supreme Court yesterday morning?

It is nearly 30 hours since the order was passed.

Yet, the order is being undermined by the MP police and jail authorities.

Is all this happening with or without the knowledge of the MP Chief Minister?

The middle class must.. Speak up!: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

What did the middle class of India get from the budget in return for dutifully banging plates and lighting diyas?

Just more cesses on a wide range of items and creeping price increases on LPG, Petrol and Diesel

The middle class must shed its misplaced faith in the government, fear and silence. Speak up!

P Chidambaram - India News
P Chidambaram Union Budget

MSMEs dismissed in a sentence: allocation of ₹ 15,700 cr. Nothing to be done to revive closed units or to recover millions of lost jobs: P Chidambaram on Union Budget

Special Congress Party briefing by Shri P Chidambaram and Shri RS Surjewala via INC India :

Finance Minister deceived people of India, especially poor, working class, migrants, farmers, industrial units that had been closed down permanently, those who had lost their jobs, both regular & informal & are still looking for jobs

FM deceived those who were listening to her, especially MPs, who had no clue she had imposed cess on a large number of products including petroleum & diesel: ₹2.5 on petrol/ltr, ₹4.00 on diesel/ ltr is a cruel blow to average citizen, including farmers

It was a vengeful act against the thousands of farmers who took out the longest tractor rally in history. It was also a cruel blow to federalism because the states do not get a share of the revenue from cesses

FM in her speech, didn’t mention Defence, as if Chinese had vacated occupied Indian territory. She didn’t mention that Defence expenditure in 2021-22 will see no rise. It is ₹ 3,47,088 cr, same as ₹ 3,43,822 cr in current year

FM gave a figure of ₹ 2,23,846 cr for Health, breathtaking rise from current year BE of ₹ 94,452 cr. It was a conjurer’s trick. She added one-time vaccination cost- ₹ 35,000 cr & Finance Commission grants amounting to ₹ 49,214 cr

She also included allocations to Department of Water & Sanitation. Shorn of these add-ons, allocations for Health were ₹ 72,934 in 2020-21 and ₹ 79,602 crore in 2021-22. Given inflation, the increase is practically nil

On pg 10 of Budget at a Glance, two numbers are ₹ 82,445 cr & ₹ 74,602 cr which means a reduction in expenditure from current year level. What kind of additional health infrastructure can be built with this parsimonious allocation?

Hence, on the two non-negotiables that the Congress party had listed on 28th January (at the Press Conference), the government has miserably failed the people of this country

The fiscal numbers show that the fiscal situation is in a mess. The Revenue Deficit (7.5%) and the Fiscal Deficit (9.5%) in the current year have exceeded every prediction, including the government’s

In 2021-22 the govt estimates it will borrow about ₹ 3.42 lakh cr less, but nobody is willing to believe the govt. The ‘borrowing’ number has been under-stated by assuming that there will be disinvestment revenues of ₹ 1.75 lakh cr

Govt has also assumed that tax revenues will increase by 15%, another questionable assumption. RD (5.1%) & FD (6.8%) numbers for 2021-22 will send alarm signals to rest of the world, especially investors & international lenders

Apprehensions should have been allayed by laying out a credible fiscal correction path, year by year, until the year when the FD will be 3% or less. On the contrary, her target was 4.5% by 2025-26. Investors and lenders will bristle

It was expected that there will be a significant increase in govt expenditure to offset private investment & private consumption. Numbers show that total govt expenditure will see a paltry rise from ₹ 34,50,305 cr to ₹ 34,83,236 cr

Farm Sector has been shortchanged. Budget allocation form ‘Agriculture & Allied Activities’ has been reduced from ₹ 1,54,775 cr (BE) to ₹ 1,48,301 cr (BE). Of total expenditure, proportion has been reduced from 5.1% to 4.3%

Budget allocation for Market Intervention Scheme & Price Support Scheme has been slashed from ₹ 2000 crore to ₹ 1501 crore. Budget allocation for PM Kisan Samman Nidhi has been reduced from ₹ 75,000 crore to ₹ 65,000 crore

MSMEs dismissed in a sentence: allocation of ₹ 15,700 cr. Nothing to be done to revive closed units or to recover millions of lost jobs. FM seems unaware that thousands of MSMEs- esp. micro & small units have been closed permanently

A meagre sum of ₹ 20,000 cr has been set apart for recapitalisation of Public Sector Banks. Govt also intends to privatise two PSBs. Govt’s intent is clear: let PSBs bleed slowly so they can all be privatised in the short term

Tax reliefs, tweaking provisions of tax laws completely by-passed tax paying working class and middle class. Each one of the measures announced by the FM will benefit only the taxpayers among the richer classes

There was no cut in GST rates. Mess of multiple rates remains. Saga of protectionism continues. Customs duties have been increased on a number of items with wrong belief that a stiffer dose of protectionism will help Indian industry

FM paid special attention to poll bound states, announced large capital outlays for Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal & Assam. People are no fools, they know expenditure will happen after scheme approval & over a period of several years

FM promised a Budget “like never before”. Her mandate was to present an annual statement of revenue & expenditure for 2021-22. What she did was to estimate expenditure over 2 years or 3 years or 4 years or, in one case, over 5 years

FM made a reference to Hon’ble PM 14 times, to farmers 11 times. 40 minutes before she read para 141, Bloomberg put out FD & RD numbers for 2020-21! Budget was a let down like never before. Budget, like the previous one, will unravel sooner than you think

Chapter 2 of the Economic Survey can be summarised in three words: “Borrow and Spend” — when faced with a slowing economy: P Chidambaram.

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

Chapter 2 of the Economic Survey is a tutorial designed for the current Finance Minister.

All the gobbledygook of Chapter 2 can be summarised in three words: “Borrow and Spend” — when faced with a slowing economy.

The CEA has rebuked the government for pursuing a tight-fisted fiscal policy.

Who is right – the FM or the CEA?

P Chidambaram - India News

The Economic Survey is “witnessing a V-shaped recovery”. The IMF says that the Indian economy will reach the pre-Covid level only in 2025! : P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

According to the Survey, the top three ‘structural reforms’ were the
(1) anti farmer laws
(2) the new MSME definition and
(3) the four Labour Codes.

The farmers have rejected the three Farm laws.

The MSMEs have said that they had got no relief at all.

The Trade Unions have rejected the four Labour Codes!

What is reform is what the people have rejected. It is the new definition of  ‘reform’ and ‘democracy’

The Economic Survey is “witnessing a V-shaped recovery”. The IMF says that the Indian economy will reach the pre-Covid level only in 2025!

P Chidambaram Economy India News

Once upon a time, the Survey was the vehicle to communicate to the people in simple language the state of the economy and the prospects in the coming year: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

The best decision taken by the government is the decision not to print the Economic Survey

Once upon a time, the Survey was the vehicle to communicate to the people in simple language the state of the economy and the prospects in the coming year

Now, the Survey has apparently a different purpose, although the purpose is not clear

Will someone please explain to me the meaning of the sentence “(Granger and Newbold) also illustrated that the regression residuals are likely to be autocorrelated, as evidenced by a very low value for the Durbin-Watson (DW) statistic”?

All this in aid of the self-congratulatory conclusion that government implemented  “far sighted policy response for economic recovery” !

The most frequently used word in the Economic Survey is “regression” The current government has taught us the meaning of “recession” When you learn the meaning of “recession” and “regression”, you will qualify to be included in the team to write the next Economic Survey

P Chidambaram Economy India News

Impart a large fiscal stimulus to economy, even if it is belated. Such a stimulus alone will put money in people’s hands & stimulate demand : P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram, Former Finance Minister :

As regards economy, what needs to be done to stem decline & accelerate recovery have been identified by a number of economists, including those who have supported the Modi government in the past. We believe that the following steps need to be taken :

  1. Impart a large fiscal stimulus to economy, even if it is belated. Such a stimulus alone will put money in people’s hands & stimulate demand.

2. Make direct cash transfers to 20-30% of families at bottom of the economy at least for a period of six months

3. Formulate & implement a rescue plan for MSMEs to revive closed units, recover jobs that were lost, create new jobs for those who have moderate education & skills.

4. Reduce tax rates, especially GST & other indirect tax rates (e.g. on petrol & diesel)

5. Increase government capital expenditure

6. Recapitalize public sector banks immediately and encourage them to lend without fear of investigative agencies probing every loan.

7. Abandon protectionist policies, re-engage with world, have bilateral trade agreements with many countries, remove bias against imports

8. Formulate sector-specific revival packages for Telecom, Power, Mining, Construction, Aviation, Tourism & Hospitality

9. Review & rescind amendments to tax laws that have been widely viewed as tax terrorism

10. Initiate a comprehensive & time-bound review of regulations made by RBI, SEBI, TRAI, CERC, other regulatory agencies that have been regarded as over-regulation

We have no expectations from the govt. Our effort is to highlight policies, incompetent economic management & missed opportunities. If even a part of the agenda that we have set out is accepted by govt, we shall be happy & relieved for sake of Indian people

We don’t see a ‘V’ shaped recovery. We feel the recovery, slow & painful, will leave millions of households struggling to survive, it will resemble the letter ‘K’ : P Chidambaram

Special Congress Party briefing by P Chidambaram, Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh :

The Budget for 2021-22 will be presented four days from now. The Congress party wishes to place before the people its assessment of the year that will conclude on 31-03-2021 and a list of things that need to done in 2021-22.

We have no expectations this govt will accept our assessment or heed our diagnosis & prescription for economy. We know this govt is exceptionally obstinate, impervious to good advice, uncaring about calamitous consequences of its economic policies.

The Budget for 2020-21 began to unravel within weeks of its presentation. The Congress party had, even at that time, pointed out that the assumptions behind the Budget were wrong and the targets set were unattainable

Even without pandemic, economy would have continued on downward path that began in first quarter of 2018-19 and continued for eight successive quarters. The pandemic pushed economy into an abyss: -23.9 per cent in Q1 of 2020-21 and – 7.5 per cent in Q2

The current Finance Minister has the distinction of presiding over the first recession in four decades.The year 2020-21 will end with negative growth. None of the numbers estimated at the beginning of the year will be achieved

Revenue targets will be missed by a large margin, capital investment will take a hit, revenue deficit will near 5%, fiscal deficit will exceed 7%. No point in wasting time over Budget 2020-21. It was a disaster at the start it’ll be a catastrophe at the end

We are afraid that the FM will present a dressed-up Revised Estimates for 2020-21 and attempt to build an attractive narrative for 2021-22. The RE for 2020-21 will be a set of false numbers and, therefore, the BE for 2021-22 will be a conjurer’s illusion

We believe that the reality is-

  • 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%
  • current unemployment rates- rural- 9.2%, urban- 8.9%. Unemployment level in 2021-22 will remain high, most jobs lost will not come back, new jobs creation rate will be low. Wage cuts in organised sector may be restored, real wages will not grow in 2021-22.
  • agriculture will grow at a satisfactory rate if the government does not arbitrarily disrupt the sector with anti-farmer laws and retrograde import/export policies for agricultural produce
  • the industry sector will not attract huge investments because of low savings rate, inadequate credit growth, protectionism, crony capitalism, encouragement of monopolies, a climate of distrust and vindictive administrative actions.
  • services sector will achieve moderate growth as it’ll be technology-driven, but growth rate of jobs in that sector will be low
  • exports & imports will be in doldrums because of protectionist policies and the world economy not fully recovering in 2021-22
  • the current rates of inflation are high and painful, but it is likely that any further increase in inflation may be contained by rate hikes by the RBI
  • because of mishandling of economy & govt’s underwhelming response to pandemic, economic inequalities have grown. Oxford report- ‘Inequality Virus’ shows vast majority have lost incomes & livelihoods while a tiny few on top have multiplied their wealth.

Seven years of the Modi government have wrecked our economy and the prospects of high growth. Dr Arvind Subramanian, former CEA, described the period 2004-2010 as the golden years of the Indian economy

The equivalent period of 2014-20 has witnessed the slow but inexorable descent into a deep hole. The conclusion of a recent study by Brookings using IMF and World Bank data is humiliating but not surprising at all.

Biggest rise in poverty will be in India and India will overtake Nigeria and become the country with the largest number of poor people. That is the contribution of the Modi government at the end of seven years.

We don’t see a ‘V’ shaped recovery. We feel the recovery, slow & painful, will leave millions of households struggling to survive, it will resemble the letter ‘K’. As a result, inequality will increase. Those who are behind will be pushed back further

We recognize that there are some imperatives that fall outside economic management such as (a) increase in expenditure on health infrastructure and (b) increase in defence expenditure. We will support significant increase under both heads.

P Chidambaram - India News

‘Start on a clean slate’ is the only way forward : P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram, Former Finance Minister :

Farmers and government will hold 10th Round of talks today. How can we expect any positive outcome when government refuses to keep the past aside and start on a clean state?

Government should offer to begin afresh and hold talks on what needs to be done and what needs to be avoided. ‘Start on a clean slate’ is the only way forward.

P Chidambaram Economy India News

I salute Ms Anjali Bhardwaj for her tenacity and single-minded pursuit of information : P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram, Former Finance Minister :

NITI Aayog’s Committee of CMs on Agriculture concluded its deliberations in September 2019 and gave its report After 16 months, the report has not yet been “presented” to NITI Aayog’s governing council! Why, nobody knows and nobody will answer!

Citing this as the reason, the RTI request of Ms Anjali Bhardwaj for a copy of the report has been rejected! Alice would have said “curiouser and curiouser”.

I salute Ms Anjali Bhardwaj for her tenacity and single-minded pursuit of information

P Chidambaram - India News

As expected, another round of talks between the farmers and government has failed: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram – Former Union Finance Minister:

As expected, another round of talks between the farmers and government has failed

The fault lies with the government because it will not agree to get rid of the disputed laws

RTI responses have exposed as a lie the government’s claim that there were extensive consultations before the Farm Laws Ordinances were promulgated

The truth is that no one was consulted. In particular, state governments were not consulted

The only way out of the impasse is for the government to admit its mistake and agree to start on a clean slate