NEW DELHI: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday took a poetic jibe at finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman as he raked up past policy decisions such as GST and note ban.
Reciting a poem, Tharoor questioned the Interim Budget presented on February 1 and the
Taking a dig at the government, Tharoor said, “Kuch chuninda logon ke ghar bangle ho gaye, baalon se pairon tak aate hum kangle ho gaye.” (While some people built their mansions, we went bankrupt from head to toe.)
While taking part in the debate on the Interim Budget in Lok Sabha, the Congress MP came down heavily on the Centre and said that the Goods and Services Tax regime was a good idea but “shabbily implemented”.
was a bad policy and badly implemented, GST was a good idea but was badly designed and shabbily implemented,” Tharoor said in the lower house.
Tharoor further said in the lower house that GST has been used by the government to trample over the financial autonomy of our states, and when coupled with demonitization, it resulted in finishing our job-generating small micro and medium business.
“The government has caused a 45-year high unemployment which ended the economic recovery that began in 2013,” he said.
“All while failing a tochieve all of its stated objectives, ordinary Indians have suffered. Even the GST tax slabs on basic items – toothpaste, footwear, shirt and pants, rice and wheat. Instead of flushing our black money, it simply resulted in concentrating wealth in the hands of the government, but at the expense of Aam Aadmi,” Tharoor added.
Citing data, he attacked the Centre saying that employment in the non-agricultural sector has declined.
“The young people of our country is facing a double whammy because of falling labour participation rates and shockingly high unemployment rates,” he said.
Talking about the startup sector, which the current government is highly focused on, he said fundraising activities have been subdued.
“The government praises the startup culture as an alternative but funds-starved startups fired nearly 18,000 people in 2022. Startup fundraising activity is so subdued that in all India startups together raised USD 1.1 billion in January, down 75 per cent compared to January of previous year,” Tharoor said.
Turning to MSMEs, which is a major generator of employment, he said they are shrinking. The number of MSMEs has dwindled and a sizable number of them have ceased to exist.
“Many were permanently closed after the disastrous demonetization. In 2016, we had 6.25 crore MSMEs, the number has now dwindled to 3.25 crore, as per the government’s MSME registration portal (Udyam).”
“More than 60 per cent of the conventional micro-enterprises in our country which were engaged in business for more than 10 years have perished. They have been closed,” the parliamentarian said.