NEW DELHI: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday took a swipe at the opposition for accusing the government of crony capitalism.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha on Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman asked, “Loans sanctioned under Mudra Yojana stood at more than Rs 27,000 crore. Who takes Mudra Yojana? Damaads (son-in-laws)?”
The finance minister further noted that the number of digital transactions via United Payment Interface (UPI) from August 2017 till January 2020 was over 3.6 lakh crore.
“UPI is used by who? The rich? No. Middle class, smaller traders. Who are these people then? Is Govt creating UPI, facilitating digital transactions to benefit rich cronies? Some damaads? No,” she exclaimed.
“‘Damaad’, I didn’t think is the trademark of Indian National Congress. Damaad har ghar mein hota hai. Magar Damaad Indian National Congress mein ek specialised naam hai (Son-in-law is in every home. But son-in-law is a specialised name in Indian National Congress.),” she clarified after the opposition raised objection over her remark.
Sitharaman also said that the budget “is the instrument through which ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ is to be attained” and asserted that the government is also looking at “long term sustainable growth”.
Sitharman said, “It’s a budget which clearly draws on the experience, the administrative capacities and also exposure that the Prime Minister had during his long elected tenure – both as CM and as PM of this country – known for his commitment towards development, growth, and reforms. So these three things are essentially infused in the budget which is now speaking for itself in the sense that it is the instrument through which Atmanirbhar Bharat is to be attained.”
Besides providing ‘quick short term solutions’, Sitharaman added that the government is also looking at “long term sustainable growth”.
Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday had launched an attack at the government and alleged that it ignored the poor, unemployed and the MSME sector in the budget proposals for 2021-22.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also accused the government of crony capitalism. Reinterpreting the ‘Hum do, humare do’ slogan, once used in government’s family planning campaigns, Rahul said the NDA government is ensuring well being of only a few rich people close to those in power.
(With inputs from agencies)