Home >Politics >News >Congress, BJP spar over package

Senior leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main Opposition Congress sparred on Tuesday over the economic package announced by the Union government to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. However, both parties highlighted the need for more political consensus to push forth policy initiatives, especially at the time of a crisis.

The package announced by the government would spur expenditure when seen in a holistic manner, BJP’s senior Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said at an online panel discussion titled “Across the Aisle — Blurring the Political Lines to Develop a Common Agenda" during the CII session on Tuesday. However, senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari criticized the Centre for not giving money directly into the hands of the people.

The comments made by the parliamentarians from the two parties come ahead of the possible monsoon session of Parliament where the Union government’s handling of the pandemic is going to be in focus. The budget session of Parliament had to be adjourned earlier in March because of covid-19, but Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla last month had said he was hopeful of monsoon session being held on time.

“No one will be in disagreement with the suggestion that money needs to be put in the hands of people but we are already doing it through schemes such as Jan Dhan Yojana…. If you take a holistic look at the announcements it will add to the overall money in the hands of people," Sahasrabuddhe said.

“There is no other alternative to that you need to actually put money in the hands of the people. You need to have pay check protection in place," Tewari said. The most striking image of the lockdown would be of migrant labourers walking home, he said, adding that there “would be time in Parliament" to look at this when it meets next. “For all the talk of consultation, it is a fact that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to announce the national lockdown, no state was taken into confidence. It was announced at a four hour notice," the Congress leader added.

anuja@livemint.com

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