The Congress on Sunday accused the government of misleading people in the name of an economic package and said the measures announced by the Centre amounted to only 1.6 per cent of India's GDP, i.e. worth Rs 3.22 lakh crore instead of Rs 20 lakh crore as claimed by the Prime Minister.
Congress' senior spokesperson Anand Sharma Sharma said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must 'walk the talk' and announce the measures required by giving money in the hands of the poor and small and medium enterprises to help reboot the economy.
He noted that there was a difference between providing stimulus to the economy and merely giving loans and credit to people.
Sharma, a former union minister, challenged the finance minister for a debate on the package while raising questions about the announcements made by the prime minister.
"The government's economic package is only of Rs 3.22 lakh crore and is only 1.6 per cent of India's GDP and is not worth Rs 20 lakh crore as announced by the prime minister," Sharma said while addressing a press conference through video conferencing.
"I am questioning the Finance Minister, disputing the announcement of Prime Minister and challenging the government to disprove me on the numbers given by me and am ready for a debate with the finance minister," he said.
The Congress leader further said the Finance Minister should answer questions and not ask questions instead. He also demanded that the government provide answers to the country on the plight of migrants forced to walk on roads due to lack of planning on the part of the central government.
Sharma hit back at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her attack on the opposition party and termed it as 'frivolous', saying the country expects some seriousness and gravitas from the finance minister.
He also asked the government to apologise to the poor citizens of the country who have been abandoned and their fundamental rights and legal rights violated.
Allocation of additional funds exposes BJP claim about MGNREGA: Cong
With the Centre sanctioning additional funds for job creation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Uttar Pradeh Congress on Sunday said the Bharatiya Janata Party has been exposed about its claim regarding the scheme, once dubbed as a 'living monument' of poverty by PM Narendra Modi.
If the scheme was an ‘epitome of corruption', then why is it being implemented now and additional funds allocated, UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh asked referring to a PM's statement about the scheme in Parliament in 2015.
"Who was telling lies, and who was misleading the country? It is the schemes envisaged by the Congress on which the country is functioning today," Singh said, claiming that the Congress has always been contributing to nation building.
The BJP has been 'effectively exposed', he said.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Centre on Sunday allocated additional Rs 40,000 crore under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as part of the 20 lakh crore economic stimulus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken potshots at the Congress in the Lok Sabha while referring to corruption in the scheme and coal block allocations.
The prime minister had said, "Do you think, I will put an end to the scheme. My political wisdom does not allow me to do it. This is a living monument of your failure to tackle poverty in 60 years."
"With song, dance and drum beat, I will continue with the scheme," he had said.
The Congress leader also took a dig at the UP government on Sunday, saying the scheme once flayed by the PM is now needed for job creation in the state.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on May 12 had asked for the creation of 50 lakh jobs per day under the MGNREGS recently, more than double the current numbers.
The mandate of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household, whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
Adityanath had said that in view of the coronavirus outbreak, stranded workers are returning to the state, hence, jobs in large numbers are needed.
Countering the Congress attack, UP BJP media co-convenor Navin Srivastava said, "Schemes are made by the governments, and after periodic reviews, the schemes either continue or are scrapped off. The BJP government has strengthened the MGNREGA. We have also increased for the workers."