What's going out isn't even 1.5 pc of GDP: Anand Sharma calls economic package 'a dramatic announcement'

New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): Hitting out at the Centre over Rs 20 lakh crore economic package which is nearly 10 per cent of gross domestic product, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Friday said it was just a 'dramatic' announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that the package not even amounts to 1.5 per cent of GDP.

"We have to make a distinction between fiscal stimulus, economic package and easing of liquidity. Around 95 per cent of what we are seeing is easing of liquidity. It would be an economic package if there was cash, income support for those who lost wages and livelihood that has not come from the government," Sharma told ANI.

"The actual transfer of funds so far or outgo of cash from the government is less than 1 lakh crore. What is going out is not even 1.5 per cent of the GDP. There is no 10 per cent of GDP that we are giving," he said.

The Congress Rajaya Sabha member claimed that the government's outgo is "very little" and the rights of migrants and poor labourers have been "violated" by the government.

"Sitharaman announced liquidity measures, MSME credit and a large number of MSMEs have been left out. Migrant labours have given no cash transfer. When they talk about food ration then what is the outflow? It is just for two months there is no universal operability of ration cards. The designated ration shops will not have enough shops then where will migrant labourers go they will be turned back," he said.

"There should have been preparedness and coordination. Migrants are not objects of pity, they are equal citizens of India. They have their legal and constitutional rights. Right to food is guaranteed to them by the Constitution," he added.

He asked the government to do the "right calculation of economic package" and be honest about its announcement. "We are not giving 10 pc of GDP by easing of liquidity and giving a moratorium on instalments for six months on loans to be repaid or the interest to be repaid, for delaying income tax returns and giving loans to the farmers and other credit schemes. A loan is a loan and credit is credit. There is no money transfer."

"No money to states. The states have lost revenues. What has been done is far too less compared to the announcement. I would like the government to be honest about it," he said.

Suggesting the Centre on how to be more effective in dealing with the current crisis, Sharma said: "Do cash transfer, give wage support to MSMEs, cash transfer to the states, the government should monetise the deficit and they should increase their borrowings by little over Rs 4 lakh crore taking it to Rs 12 lakh crore. The RBI has to monetise. The fiscal deficit and inflation issue cannot be a consideration in the pandemic."

He urged the government to give cash transfer to women under MNREGA as only 21 per cent of poor women have Jan Dhan accounts. (ANI)