Why the stimulus will boost the Indian economy, writes Hardeep Puri – analysis
Since March 26, Operation Lifeline Udan has transported 885 tons of critical medical supplies and essential cargo over 500,000 km through 546 flights to the most remote destinations in the country. Under the Vande Bharat Mission, as the first schedule conforms to the second flight schedule, the Government of India (GoI) plans to bring 50,000 stranded Indians back to the country by the end of May. These are some of the responsibilities that the Government of India has engaged in in response to the coronavirus disease crisis (Covid-19), even as we contemplate reopening national aviation. But what has the Opposition been involved in during this critical moment?
A credible opposition is essential for democratic functioning. This becomes even more important in times of crisis. The challenges of governance to deal with the pandemic are establishing a new template. The changing positions of the Opposition seeking to use this humanitarian crisis as an opportunity to regain its lost political relevance will be examined with the same care to which government activities will be subject.
India was one of the first to wake up to the threat of the pandemic by controlling passengers, stopping flights and imposing a national blockade. When the nation emerged as a prophetic and responsible nation globally by taking preventative measures to stop the spread of the virus, the Opposition called the sudden, harsh and unilateral blockade. If it weren’t for the running of the bulls, we would have found ourselves in the same boat as many of the more developed nations where more than thousands have been dying every day.
Despite the fact that GoI initiated immediate support for farmers, construction workers, poor women, the elderly, workers, low-wage workers and other vulnerable sections under the ~ 1.7 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan package, the Opposition suggested that the government does not care for the poor. Various events, such as the approval of 6.3 million loans worth ~ 86.6 billion rupees in agriculture between March 1 and April 30, and an additional allocation of ~ 40 billion rupees under the National Plan Rural Employment Guarantee Mahatma Gandhi compared to last year, to benefit wage applicants fly in the face of such falsehood.
The opposition’s response to the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Sufficient Indian Campaign) has been particularly surprising. Before the announcement, the Opposition spoke of improving liquidity and extending support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
When the details of the ambitious and holistic package extending various innovative measures for MSMEs were announced, at a cost of more than ~ 6 lakh crore, prominent members of the Opposition changed the goalpost, suggesting that they had not been taken measures for migrant workers. In their eagerness to criticize, perhaps they were blind to the fact that most migrant workers are employed in MSMEs, and these steps would benefit them.
The next day, when specific steps are taken to help our migrant workers by giving them a nation card, a ration to access the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS), affordable rental housing through a public-private partnership, grant from Interest on Mudra Shishu loans and credits for street vendors were announced, some members of the Opposition tried to belittle them by suggesting that street vendors do not go to the banks to obtain credits and obtain loans at 1% per day.
Through various initiatives in the past six years, such as Jan Dhan Yojna, Direct Benefit Transfer, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Ayushman Bharat Yojana, and Ujjwala Yojana, the Center has used technology to provide government benefits to the most vulnerable sections . The government will partner with non-bank financial companies, microfinance institutions, and banks to extend working capital loans to street vendors, and the interest grant scheme under the Deendayal Antoyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission will be resolved to reward providers for their good repayment behavior and to increase their right to bigger loans. Under a nation’s initiative, a ration card, 670 million beneficiaries in 23 states, covering 83% of the PDS population, will be covered by national portability in August.
Changing course, some members of the Opposition have argued that easy loans for MSMEs are not an incentive since a loan is a normal banking practice and only fiscal measures count. But people understand that a stimulus is anything that helps people, especially to get their business back. By issuing credit guarantees, the government is trying to prevent companies from going bankrupt and improving the liquidity of MSMEs will help them restart activities quickly. If this is not a stimulus, what is?
Similar intellectual ineptitude has been demonstrated in response to the Prime Minister’s call to undertake far-reaching land, liquidity and legal reforms to make India self-sufficient by tapping demand in the country. Despite the fact that the prime minister specified that the approach is to be self-sufficient by participating in and leading global value chains without being self-centered or introspective, the Opposition resorted to scaremongering about multinational corporations being shown the door when exactly what happens. contrary. being attempted by the government.
As more steps are announced for the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Opposition will become more exposed. In a democracy, when the main opposition party fails to win even 10% of the seats in the Lok Sabha, a certain level of despair is understandable. But, if you lose your ability to engage in constructive criticism in this rush to weave false narratives, you further compromise its relevance in the political system.
Hardeep Puri is Union Minister
The opinions expressed are personal.