Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday criticised Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for blaming the coronavirus for the current economic situation of the country. A day after a 24% drop in the GDP signaled India’s worst economic contraction on record, Chidambaram took on Sitharaman for her “act of God” comment, saying, “Don’t blame God for a man-made disaster.”
“In fact, you should thank god. God has blessed the farmers of the country. The pandemic is a natural disaster. But you are compounding the pandemic, a natural disaster, with a man-made disaster,” Chidambaram told NDTV in an interview.
Sitharaman earlier had put the blame on the pandemic in response to the states’ demand for compensation due to GST losses. “This year we are facing an extraordinary situation. We are facing an act of God where we may even see a contraction,” she said.
Questioning Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian’s claim that the economy would see a better performance in the coming quarters on the back of a V-shaped recovery, Chidambaram said, “I don’t know if anyone takes the Chief Economic Adviser seriously. When is the last time he had a conversation with the Prime Minister? He has been predicting V-shaped recovery for months. Then he saw green shoots when the Finance Minister said it. Where are the green shoots?”
Chidamabaram said the data point on which Subramanian relied had been refuted by the Reserve Bank of India.
Talking about the path to recovery, Chidambaram said, “This is the time to borrow, spend, boost demand, put money in the hands of the poor so that consumption increases.”
On the ‘Aatma-nirbhar package’ during the pandemic, the former minister simply said, “It is a joke.”