Subramanian Swamy
Subramanian Swamy
PTI Photo

Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday to Twitter to criticise the Union Budget 2020, and more specifically, the foreign portfolio investment incentives that were announced.

"Portfolio foreign investment has received in the 2020 Budget—incentives. This step will weaken Indian financial system hugely and thus foreign short term funds will be positioned to de-stabilise our economy as it happened to East Asia in 1997-2000," he wrote on Twitter.

On February 1, while presenting the Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced an increase in the investment limit for foreign portfolio investors.

"The limit for FPI in corporate bonds, currently at 9% of outstanding stock, will be increased to 15% of the outstanding stock of corporate bonds," Sitharaman had announced.

While many view this as a positive step that will boost investor confidence and thus increase foreign investment in India, Swamy seems to disagree. Drawing a parallel with what "happened to East Asia in 1997-2000", he said that the incentives will "weaken Indian finacial system".

The 1997 Asian financial crisis incidentally began in Thailand after the government was forced to float the Thai Baht owing to a lack of foreign currency to support its currency exchange rate to the US dollar. The country was also crippled by foreign debt at the time.

With assets and money rapidly flowing out of the country, this set off a chain reaction that eventually saw most of Southeastern Asia being hit by slumping currencies, devalued stock markets and more.

Despite being a part of the ruling BJP, Swamy has been a vocal critic of the party's polices on many occasions.

In the past he has also suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make him the Finance Minister. According to a report by The Print, Swamy had said that "the PM does not understand economics". Taking a dig at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, he had said that "less said the better."

More recently, soon after the government announced its decision to to sell 100 per cent stake of the national carrier Air India, Swamy condemned the plan. Calling it an anti-national move, the Rajya Sabha MP said that he will be "forced to go to court".

"We cannot sell our family silver," he had added.

Swamy was not in attendance when the Union Budget was presented as he had to be present in court for the completion of his cross examination in the National Herald case filed by him against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and others.

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