Schemes not for damaad, but poor: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi

Replying to the Budget debate and the Congress attack in Rajya Sabha on Friday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government schemes were only to benefit the poor and not for “some Damaad” (son-in-law in clear reference Robert Vadra). She slammed the Congress and other Opposition parties for their constant false narrative of the government working only for cronies, challenging them to prove it as most government schemes were for the poor.

In an apparent answer to Rahul Gandhi’s tweet PM Modi is planning to “handover India’s assets to crony capitalist friends” and claim “it’s crony-centric budget, no low-interest loans to struggling MSMEs, no GST relief,” the Finance Minister said the people will not buy such lies without any evidence. Although she did not take any name, her jibe clearly agitated the Congress leaders for a slur against their party president Sonia Gandhi even as she continued with her volleys at the opposition benches.

On the Congress ruckus, she hit back: “Damad, I didn’t think is the trademark of Indian National Congress. Damad har ghar mein hota hai. Magar Damad Indian National Congress mein ek specialised naam hai. (Son-in-laws are there in every household, but it is a specialised name in the Indian National Congress).”

“The digital transactions through UPI till January 2020 was over Rs3.6 lakh crore. UPI used by whom? — The Rich. No. Who are these people then? Is Government creating UPI, facilitating digital transactions to benefit rich cronies, some damaads? No. Middle class, smaller traders are the beneficiaries.”

The Congress resorted to shouts to object to her utterance, but Sitharaman was least disturbed as she said: “Loans sanctioned under Mudra Yojana — More than Rs27,000 crore. Who takes Mudra Yojana? Damaads?”

Meanwhile, LS Speaker Om Birla pulled up Congress group leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for believing in Rahul Gandhi but not trusting Defence Minister.

RS sttings end a day in advance, LS to sit today

The Rajya Sabha ended the first part of its budget session a day in advance on Friday to meet again in the second part from March 8 while the Lok Sabha will meet for another day on Saturday for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to reply to the general debate on the budget she presented on February 1.

Originally, both the Houses were to hold sittings till February 15, but a decision was taken with a consensus between both sides of the government and the Opposition to end it on Feb 13. The government did not want to take up other business after reply of Sitharaman in the Rajya Sabha and so the House was adjourned for 26 days.

The RS issued a notice its sitting on Saturday, Feb 13, stands can­celled. The LS is, however, yet to wind up the general debate on the budget, which could not be taken up on Friday since the pri­vate members’ business was lis­ted in the 2nd part of the sitting.

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