Sitharaman 'clueless' in dealing with economic slowdown: Congress

Sitharaman 'clueless' in dealing with economic slowdown: Congress
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma addressing a press conference at AICC in New Delhi. PTI/File photo

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday alleged that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was "clueless" in dealing with the economic slowdown and termed the latest steps announced by her to boost the economy as "cosmetic" and "piecemeal".

The Congress' attack came after Sitharaman announced an over Rs 70,000-crore package for export and real estate sectors, including setting up of a stressed asset fund, as the government continued with firefighting measures to pull the economy out of a six-year low growth rate.

"I can only say that the finance minister is clueless as to how to deal with the gravity of the crisis," Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said at a press conference.

After the earlier announcements of stimulus package, the situation deteriorated and the latest steps are not going to help, Sharma asserted.

"The finance minister of India is lacking in macroeconomic understanding. A comprehensive package for economic revival was expected," he said.

"The steps announced today will not revive the Indian economy, they are purely cosmetic, piecemeal and also convey the arrogance of the government and its indifference to the seriousness of the situation," he said.

Sharma said what was required to revive the economy was infusion of capital and not merely "small interest subventions" which have been announced.

The government is unable to do so because it does not have money, the Congress leader claimed.

Like last year, this year also the situation of revenue shortfall appears to be more serious, he said.

Sharma also hit out at Sitharaman's earlier statement blaming millennials' preference for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Ola over owning cars, and not high taxes, for slumping vehicle sales.

He also took a swipe at Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal's apparent gaffe in explaining that achieving the target of nearly doubling the size of the economy to USD 5 trillion should not be looked through the prism of Maths.

Goyal had remarked that maths did not help Albert Einstein 'to discover gravity'. The slip up was not lost on netizens who quickly took to Twitter to point out that gravity was discovered by Isaac Newton and Einstein is credited for his theory of relativity.

"Not only insulting the question on numbers and mathematics, but (he is) confusing the country or himself rather on Einstein and Newton," Sharma said of Goyal's remarks.

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