BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar defends privatisation push

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) Hitting out at the Congress and Left over its criticism of privatisation, BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday said the government will not disinvest PSEs if these political parties which are 'close to China' recover about Rs 18 lakh crore losses which India incurred due to COVID-19.

Participating in a debate on Budget 2021 in the Rajya Sabha, Chandrasekhar said the Indian economy suffered loss of an estimated Rs 18 lakh crore due to the coronavirus pandemic and asked the Opposition to get compensation from China. 'Rs 18 lakh crore is a loss to our economy. This loss is real. If friends from the Left who are very close to China or my friends from Congress (who) have MoU from China can find a way to recover the money from China, we will not disinvest,' he said.

However, he did not elaborate on what he meant by MoU. Alleging that China exported the deadly virus to India, he said both the Congress and Left have an option to either not oppose the government's disinvestment plan or get compensation from China for India's economic loss faced due to COVID-19. 'You have friends there, please ask them to compensate for India. You have the MoU, you have a relationship. Don't oppose disinvestment then. I welcome my friends who have MoU and have relationships with the country that exported the virus to help us foot the loss. I leave the option...' he added. Further on privatisation, the Karnataka MP said the opposition to private sector expansion is from a party that has a track record of handling over public assets to private cronies, be it 2G spectrum or coal blocks. 'Hypocrisy is a staple of Opposition politics. ...They teach us from their fake socialism. This is the irony of a party that talks about income inequality that created the most historic crony capitalist culture in 10 years of last decade,' he said. On economic slowdown, Chandrasekhar said initially there was a projection that the Indian economy would contract 10 per cent in the 2020-21 fiscal, but the recovery was stronger and contraction would be limited to 7.7 per cent now. 'This minus 7.7 per cent contraction means real loss of Rs 15-18 lakh crore in the output of our economy. This is a real loss. Any natural calamity causes loss to the economy and livelihood. The COVID pandemic was a natural calamity and loss to the economy,' he said. The COVID-induced economic losses cannot be attributed to a state or central government. It is directly attributable to coronavirus, which China has exported, he said, and added not only India, other countries too are also facing COVID-induced economic losses. PTI LUX ABM ABM