Opposition targets govt: No roadmap for $5 trillion goal

Liz Mathew, Pradeep Kaushal
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said fiscal honesty was being undermined and deficits were being underplayed.

On the day Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill, the Opposition targeted the government for not addressing real issues , not providing a roadmap on how to become a $5 trillion economy as it has promised and for pushing legislation for structural changes as part of the Finance Bill.

The BJP, on the other hand, argued that anti-corruption measures remained on paper till Prime Minister Narendra Modi started taking initiatives on them.

Initiating the discussion, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said there was no roadmap for achieving the target of $5 trillion economy. He said fiscal honesty was being undermined and deficits were being underplayed.

Addressing Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he said the Budget should be prepared in such a way that there must be generation of wealth . It should not be a high-sounding and high-blowing description of any political agenda, he added.

BJP MP from Godda, Nishikant Dubey, attacked the Congress for its failure to take legislative measures to curb corruption during its regime. Congress MP from Ernakulam, Hibi Eden, objected to Dubey s remarks on former Congress ministers and alleged that the BJP MP made defamatory remarks against Congress leaders in violation of House rules. Congress MP K Suresh, who was in the chair, said anything objectionable would be removed from records.

During the discussion on Finance Bill, TMC s Saugata Roy pointed out that the NDA government has not yet come out with data on how much black money has been brought back. Reiterating his criticism against demonetisation, he said, The government has not given any figure on how much black money has been curbed, he said. Roy also demanded a white paper on how many MSME units closed down after demonetisation.

The TMC MP said the economy is going to face a crisis as there is a decline in automobile sales and credit crunch has aggravated. This government is unskilled to skill people…$5 trillion economy is not happening under Modi, he said.

Both Roy and the BJD s Bhartruhari Mehtab raised the increase in the customs duty on newsprint. Roy alleged that the government wanted the newspaper business to shut down . He also took strong exception to the government s move to include amendments to GST Bill in the Finance Bill. Finance Bill is a money Bill and it does not have to be discussed in the Rajya Sabha…Changes in the taxation proposal can be done by this House, but structural changes in the system should be done through established procedures, Roy said.

Earlier, the RSP’s N K Premachandran raised objections to the Finance Bill having provisions to amend a number of laws, including Benami Act, Sebi Act and PMLA Act, and urged Speaker Om Birla to disallow it. He also accused the government of bypassing Parliament to avoid discussion and scrutiny for amending existing laws by including them in the Bill. The Speaker disallowed Premachandran’s objections and said there have been occasions earlier too when non-taxation proposals were included in the Finance Bill.

Terming the budget as fudget and claiming that it did not provide proper data, DMK MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian warned that the central government s thrust on disinvestment will make the country bleed .

NCP s Supriya Sule said the market s reactions were an indication of how people have received the Budget. Markets collapsed a week after the Budget this year. This is an indicator that the Budget has not been as well- received as the government says it has, she said. Sule also wanted the government to look into the persons named in Panama Papers and take due action.