P Chidambaram Says Union Budget Was Only For The Top 1% Of India
Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram speaks during a press conference in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

P Chidambaram Says Union Budget Was Only For The Top 1% Of India

Budget 2021 failed to address the needs of those in the bottom half of the pyramid that were the worst hit by India’s pre-Covid economic slowdown and then the pandemic, according to P Chidamabaram.

“The GDP growth rate had been declining for eight successive quarters. So, for 36 months the people have suffered and you are telling them to wait? Wait for another two years, three years, four years, and jobs will come? Is that the way an elected government in a democracy functions?” the former finance minister told Quintillion Media’s Editorial Director Sanjay Pugalia in an interview.

This budget is addressed to 1% of India. It is a budget for the rich, by the rich, and of the rich.
P Chidambaram, Former Finance Minister of India

The veteran Congress leader criticised the budget for not doing enough for those whose lives were uprooted due to the pandemic-related lockdowns. Such policies to benefit the very poor of India, he said, needed to be implemented even if they came at the risk of being termed ‘populist’ by critics.

Besides, Chidambaram was disappointed in the government’s revised fiscal deficit targets that now aim to bring down the budget gap to 4.5% by 2025-26, saying that it will hurt sovereign ratings.

The government, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said, will amend the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 to accommodate the new goalposts.

According to Chidambaram, the government’s stance of not being worried about its credit ratings is something that it will pay the price for in the future. “The government is wrong. The economic survey is wrong. To say that what matters is debt-to-GDP ratio, and not the fiscal deficit, is completely wrong. It’s wonky economics. And the country will pay a price for this misguided economics.”

Watch | Key Highlights from P Chidambaram’s interview to The Quint.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.