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No aid for the poor, tax bonanza for big biz: Congress

New Delhi

27-November-2019

Cornering the government on the state of economy in Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Anand Sharma on Wednesday questioned the government move to slash corporate tax and its privatisation overdrive.

The former Union minister said the government should have given money in the hands of the poor by raising the employment days in a year to 150 and increasing the daily wage to Rs 400 under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) instead of extending tax bonanza to corporates.

He attacked the government decision to sell PSUs, saying grand clearances are being given to sell the public assets built over the last 70 years.

"Profit-making PSUs will be sold and not disinvested. Shipping Corporation will be sold, Container Corporation will be sold, Bharat Petroleum will be sold. ..and very cleverly," Sharma said taking a swipe at the government.

"All those Acts of Parliament which protected the public sector undertakings, for which there was Supreme Court rulings, they have been repealed ..last year without discussion. So, there is a design," he said.

"One honourable Minister said that government has no right to be in business. It is a very good saying. Margaret Thatcher also said that. Look at the British economy. They are much bigger than you. Don't say that you are $3 trillion. But their population is 65 million. We are 1.3 billion people. What happened to their railways? What happened to their education system?" Anand Sharma said attacking the government.

Leading the short duration discussion in the Upper House, Sharma noted that most economic indicators have been pointing to an alarming situation.

He expressed serious doubt over reduction in corporate tax boosting the economy saying companies would use the tax bonanza to retire their old debts and deleverage. Further, they would not use the money to make investments when there was no demand in the market.

The Congress leader said that non-performing assets (NPAs) level had gone up to Rs 11 lakh crore from Rs 3 lakh crore.IANS