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Falsehood Flies for about 8 to 10 months, Truth Comes Limping after It: Mahua Moitra on Govt’s Economic Policies

NEW DELHI – Seeking to know the government’s additional revenue generation steps, opposition Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Tuesday said that the supplementary demands for grants will raise the fiscal deficit above the budgetary target.

Participating in the discussion on supplementary demands for grants for the current fiscal and excess demands for grants for 2019-20 in Lok Sabha, she said that the supplementary demands for grants will lead to an additional expenditure of about Rs 4.36 lakh crore.

“This is going to raise the fiscal deficit above the target that the Finance Minister has mentioned in the Budget. So, what are the government’s additional revenue mobilisation measures, especially non-tax revenue, that are going to make up the additional expenditure so that we stay within the fiscal deficit targets?,” she sought to know.

The MP from Krishnanagar said that nearly Rs 2,000 crore supplementary demand is for large industry, while only Rs 233 crore is for the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of jobs in the industrial sector. “These are very distorted priorities,” she said.

Attacking the government for presenting a false picture of the economy, Moitra said: “This government has us believe every February that this country’s economy is going great guns. We are the fastest growing, most efficient global player. Everyone is getting employment. We are getting gas cylinders, we are getting electricity, we are getting pukka houses. This falsehood flies for about eight to 10 months, and then the truth comes limping after it. And now we are in December and the Government says it needs another Rs 3.26 lakh crore of additional funds over and above the Budget estimate.”

Citing NSO figures, the Trinamool MP said that “industrial output has shrunk by 4 per cent in October to a 26-month low. The manufacturing sector contracted 5.6 per cent. Manufacturing is the biggest generator of jobs. Seventeen of the industry sectors that make up the Index of Industrial Production have recorded negative growth rates. Forex reserves have fallen by 72 billion dollars in under a year”.

Quoting the Finance Minister, Moitra said that it was mentioned in Parliament during Question Hour on Monday that apparently 50 per cent of FII inflows into emerging markets are coming to India. However, she added that according to the Minister of State for External Affairs’ statement in Lok Sabha last week, almost two lakh people -1,83,741 people – renounced their Indian citizenship in the first ten months of 2022.

“This exodus in 2022 takes the total number of Indians renouncing Indian citizenship under this government in the past nine years since 2014 to over 12 and a half lakh people,” she said.

The lawmaker from West Bengal further pointed out that the “government has not achieved the goals of a cashless digital economy. You have not achieved the goals of phasing out fake currency even after six years of your demonetisation announcement. Currency in circulation has doubled from Rs18 lakh crore in November 2016 to Rs 32 lakh crore in November 2022”.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was not in Lok Sabha when Moitra was speaking.

She is expected to reply to the discussion on demands for grants on Wednesday. -IANS

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