With discussions centering on Budget 2021-22, the opposition has accused the government of encouraging crony capitalism. Kapil Sibal, Congress MP, said the government was indulging in vote bank politics in the Budget and note bank politics off Budget.
Not happy with the BJP-led government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, Sibal pointed out that the “big boys” were gaining. He brought focus on the plight of the common man and minorities. “But are our farmers self-reliant, our Dalits self-reliant, our minority brothers and sisters self-reliant, our MSME sector self-reliant, our small businesses, traders self-reliant?” The Indian Express quoted him saying.
The Congress MP also accused the government of perpetuating a rigged economic system and establishing an oligarchic economic order. “Between 2018 and 2019, the share of ownership of the country’s assets by the top one per cent grew from 58 per cent to 73 per cent. In one year, this is a classic case of crony capitalism,” Sibal said. “There are four to five big boys in this country who own almost all assets in this country, and one very big boy is everywhere. I will not name anybody. He is everywhere – ports, airports, city gas distribution centres, railways – everywhere.”
Sibal pointed out that that the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman failed to talk about jobs in the Budget speech, even as data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy showed that 120 million jobs were lost during the harsh lockdown. He said the fact of the matter is they have jettisoned the real people of this country who were crying for help. “People are hungry for employment.”
He compared the current growth rates with those of the previous governments. “It only shows that for the last five years, you have mismanaged this economy. The twin objectives of a Budget are growth and equity but in the latest Budget, the government has only preferred growth and forgotten about the people of India.”
Sushil Kumar Modi, BJP MP, defended the government and highlighted the various measures and initiatives taken over the past year to help the poor and migrant labourers. He highlighted steps taken by the Reserve Bank of India, the Atmanirbhar Bharat package worth Rs 27 lakh crore, which he described as “five mini-Budgets”.