FM Nirmala Sitharaman referred to criticism about the fiscal stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore today and said the intent was not to understand but to pick holes. Discussing the various aspects of the Covid relief package with party colleague Nalin Kohli, the FM said objective behind the economic stimulus was to restart economic activity, put some cash in people's hands, and infuse liquidity in the system.
"We compared announcements made by other countries. We should be not confused about this. Every country has brought in a basket of things, some fiscal, some monetary. They have also gone into liquidity being infused. We are not different form them. The proportion might vary. We have come with measures which will get more liquidity into the market. People will get money in hand and kickstart demand," Hindustan Times quoted the FM as saying.
Talking about the approach of government in finalising the package, the FM said government considered ideas from everyone and then went about stimulating economy, restarting companies and giving relaxations.
FM said the package was designed for all sectors of the economy and sectors such as automobile, retail, entertainment, among others were not left out. "Have not excluded anyone. People in any sector can approach banks and get loans," she said.
The banks, she said, have been given free hand in disbursing loans and not even fear the 3Cs: the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
"Have spent time with banks that fear of three 3Cs - CBI, CVC, CAG - should not be in their mind. We discussed threadbare where this fear comes from. If a decision goes wrong, banks are assured that no action will be taken if the decision is not malafide," said the FM.
The FM refuted the charge that the poor, marginalised and middle class were not on the government's radar.
"The initial panic was on the EMIs, so worked with the RBI and they responded. I tend to think middle class is there in every segment, like in farm related allied activities, say, you could be part of dairy activity, an entrepreneur," said the FM.
Pointing to the income tax changes, Sitharaman said government announced relief measures for the middle class in the budget announcements. FM Sitharaman announced the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package in five tranches starting May 13. The FM made remaining announcements during the next four consecutive days.