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Coronavirus outbreak: Congress demands a fresh Union Budget, claims the pandemic demands increased spending by the centre

In his article, the INX Media scam accused P Chidambaram asserted that the country's economic woes preceded the pandemic and blamed Modi government's "misguided policies" as a reason for the economic crisis looming over the country.

India on Monday saw the highest single-day spike in the number coronavirus cases for the fourth consecutive day with 6,977 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed within a span of 24 hours. However, as the pandemic continues to sweep through the country at an alarming rate, upending lives of the citizens, the principal opposition party of the country has come up with a bizarre demand. The Congress party has demanded a fresh Union Budget from the central government.

The demand for a fresh budget comes after the Modi government has already announced a battery of measures to help the economy after the hit has taken during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sharing an opinion column authored by scam-tainted senior Congress minister P Chidambaram, the official Twitter account of the Congress party tweeted, “We need a new Budget. The assumptions made on February 1 are no longer relevant. The government must present a New Budget on June 1, 2020. The total expenditure must be in the order of Rs 40,00,000 crore: Shri @PChidambaram_IN”

In his article, the INX Media scam accused P Chidambaram asserted that the country’s economic woes preceded the pandemic and blamed Modi government’s “misguided policies” as a reason for the economic crisis looming over the country. Surprisingly, the former finance minister, who is currently out on bail, backed the Modi government in its swift decision to lock down the country in mid-March to fight the spread of the contagion. However, he slammed the centre for the subsequent lockdowns that were enforced by the government without offering any feasible solution that could have been implemented to contain the relentless march of the coronavirus.

As the pandemic continues to crater the Indian economy, the former Union Minister proposed that the only way to counter the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak is a fiscal stimulus. Citing the Expenditure Budget for 2020-21 which is pegged at Rs 30,42,230 crore, Chidambaram contended that the said expenditure budget would not suffice in stopping the country’s inevitable plunge towards recession and fiscal infusion would be the only way to salvage the nation from an economic catastrophe.

He argued that the country needs a new budget and the Union Budget declared on February 1, 2020, no longer holds any relevance considering the present scenario. Suggesting increased spending, Chidambaram asserted that the total expenditure must be around Rs 40,00,000 crore. He also suggested that the present sources of revenue may yield only Rs 18, 00,000 crore and therefore the central government must be prepared to borrow to spur the languishing economy. The borrowing will go up from the BE of Rs 7,96,337 crore to Rs 22,00,000 crore, he added.

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