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Opinion

Congressional panel holds its first meeting and expresses concern about the economy

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The newly formed congressional panel on economic affairs met on Saturday to discuss the state of the country’s economy and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on it, people familiar with the development said.

The panel on economic affairs, led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, held its introductory meeting and discussed the overall state of the economy, expressing concern that it has entered recession for the first time. The other members of the committee are former Union ministers P Chidambaram, Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh, who is also its convener, and former CM Digvijaya Singh from Madhya Pradesh.

A congressional official said leaders during the meeting discussed the strategy the party should adopt to pressure the government to reactivate the economy.

Congressional leaders affirmed that the government should take steps to reactivate the economy with fair and remunerative prices for farmers for their products; implementation of the NYAY scheme to put money in the hands of the poor; and job creation since the unemployment rate stood at 6.4%, in addition to giving more money to the states. Nyay’s scheme, a kind of universal basic income program, was part of the Congressional manifesto in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

Aside from this panel, Congress Speaker Sonia Gandhi also formed foreign affairs and national security committees on Friday.

On the foreign affairs panel, Singh will be attended by former Union ministers Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor and Salman Khurshid, as well as Saptagiri Sanka Ulaka, a member of the Lok Sabha of Koraput in Odisha. Khurshid has been appointed its convener. Manmohan Singh will also lead the panel on national security. Its members are Azad, former Union Minister M Veerappa Moily, Vincent H Pala, member of Lok Sabha, and V Vaithilingam, former Chief Minister of Puducherry who represents Puducherry in the 17th Lok Sabha. Pala is its convener.

Gandhi also accommodated Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shashi Tharoor, who were among 23 signatories to a letter to the party chairman in August this year seeking organizational reform.

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