Sun, 29 Jan 2023

New Delhi [India], December 20 (ANI): Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister and P Chidambaram made a hard-hitting attack on the government over its handling of economy on Monday and said private investment was sluggish and the government has given Rs 2.5 lakh crore tax bonanza to the corporate sector.

During the debate on the supplementary demands for grants in the Rajya Sabha, Chidambaram asked if border situation figured during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's brief meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Bali G20 summit leading to strong objections from the treasury benches.

As BJP members raised point of order, Chidambaram said the demands for grants also pertained to border roads and he could ask such questions. Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar Chidambaram asked Chidambaram to take note of the relevant rules.

Chidambaram also asked about infrastructure being built by China along the LAC on its side and said if buffer zones along LAC meant that Indian forces cannot patrol to the earlier points.

Chidambaram said he was not seeking any sensitive information from the government.

He asked if China conceded anything on Hot Springs or agreed to discuss the friction points in the Doklam Junction and the Depsang Plains.

The Opposition had staged a walkout earlier over their demand for a discussion on the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month.

Chidambaram said he had six points and the government if had mobilised resources for the supplementary demands for grants or will do so in the future.

"The private investment is sluggish. They are, certainly, not summoning their animal spirits -- I do not know why it is called animal spirits, these should be human spirits. We know it is down. Private consumption is down. You cannot deny that. High-end items are being sold. Mercedez Benz cars, BMW cars, etc. are being sold," he said.

"But what about the consumption by the poor and the middle class? If consumption is good, why should one-third of our children be stunted? Why should over half of our women be anaemic? These are all accepted statistics in Government publications," he added.

He asked if the Modi government would be able to double the India's GDP its ten years as had happened earlier.

"In 1990-91, the GDP at constant prices was about Rs. 25 lakh crores. And, after that, liberalisation started. In twelve years, this GDP doubled to Rs. 50 lakh crores. In next ten years, it doubled again to Rs. 98-99 lakh crores. So, first time, the GDP took 12-13 years to double; second time, it took ten years to double," he said.

"Will it be able to double to Rs. 200 lakh crores? I know the answer for myself. But, I want the hon. Finance Minister and the Government to answer that for the benefit of hon. Members. Will you be able to double the GDP, which you inherited, by the time you demit office in ten years," he askedChidambaram said according to the budget, the gross tax revenue is Rs 27,57,820 crore.

"Of this, Corporation Tax - this is on corporates - is Rs 7,20,000 crore. Income tax is Rs. 7 lakh crore. Now, if you do the proportions, you will find that Corporate Tax accounts for 26.1 per cent of the gross tax revenue. When this Government came into office, in the previous year, 2013-14, the gross tax revenue was Rs. 11,55,838 crore. Of which, Corporate Tax was Rs. 3,93,677 crore. As a proportion, Corporate Tax in the gross tax revenue was 34 per cent," he said.

"Today, the corporates are contributing 26 per cent of gross tax revenue. Why has this great benefit been conferred on the corporates? Sir, they contribute 8 per cent less of the gross tax revenue. Who is contributing the other revenue? The rest is contributed by Income Tax payers, middle class, upper middle class, other income tax payers, excise duty payers, GST payers - which is you and I - customs duty, which is passed on to the common people, Cesses, taxes on petrol and diesel, etc. That accounts today for 74 per cent," he added.

The Congress leader said after "conferring this bounty, I hear the Finance Minister going to FICCI, CII and Chambers of Commerce and say, 'Please invest. Why are you not investing?'"He said eight per cent of Rs 27 lakh crore will be almost Rs. 2.5 lakh crore.

"Rupees 2.5 lakh crore is the bonanza conferred on the corporate sector and still they are not investing. My question is Why?" he asked.

Chidambaram also asked if the government taken into account that many of the world's leading economies are headed towards a recession.

"Does the Government take into account, reckon the fact that the world's leading countries are heading towards a recession? If they are leading towards a recession, and if three of your engines are sputtering, how do you propose to deal with the situation? How do you propose to stimulate growth?" he asked.

Participating in the discussion, AAP leader Raghav Chadha said there should be wider debate on what are freebies. He said a large part of the demands for grants sought by the government was "subsidies".

He said while the government calls its spending on welfare of people as "subsidies", BJP leaders term such spending by some opposition partiesas "revadi".

TMC's Derek O'Brien accused the BJP of not fulfilling its promise of concerning federal governance and greater involvement of the states in policy making.

Several other members participated in the debate. (ANI)

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