New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday slammed the Centre after it announced the COVID-19 financial package, calling it a 'hoax'.
In a tweet, he said that the package, announced on Monday by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, could not be utilised by families to spend on food, medicines, or their children's education.
"No family can spend FM's 'economic package' on their living-food-medicine-child's school fees. This is not a package, it's another hoax!" he tweeted.
Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram too hit out the Centre's new package, saying that the only answer to the ongoing crisis is to put money in the hands of the people, especially the poor and lower-middle-class.
"'Some elementary truths: Credit guarantee is not credit. Credit is more debt. No banker will lend to a debt-ridden business. Debt-burdened or cash-starved businesses do not want more credit, they need non-credit capital. More supply does not mean more demand (consumption). On the contrary, more demand (consumption) will trigger more supply," he tweeted.
He added, "Demand (consumption) will not grow in an economy where jobs have been lost and incomes/wages have been reduced. The answer to this crisis is to put money in the hands of the people, especially the poor and lower middle classes." Sitharaman had earlier announced Rs 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee scheme for sectors of the economy struggling to recover from the impact of the devastating second COVID-19 wave.
The finance minister had announced a Credit Guarantee Scheme to facilitate new lending among the smallest borrowers.
"Under the Credit Guarantee Scheme, we aim to reach out to 25 lakh people who are absolutely small borrowers. Loan to be given to the smallest borrowers by Microfinance Institutions. A maximum Rs 1.25 lakhs amount to be lent," she had said.
With the aim to provide further economic relief to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre also expanded the financial support being provided under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) by Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
To revive the tourism sector, Sitharaman announced free tourist visas to the first five lakh tourists and said that financial support will be provided to more than 11,000 registered tourist guides and tourism stakeholders.