The Rajya Sabha witnessed uproar by the Opposition on Friday after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched a veiled attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and asked “What is that poor that you are talking about?”
Without naming any leader, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The former [Congress] president said poverty does not mean the scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome it, said the Congress leader. He said it’s a state of mind. I’ve not named the person but we know who it is.”
It was back in 2013 when Rahul Gandhi made ‘poverty state of mind’ remark while speaking at a function in Allahabad. He then said this while hailing the role of self-help groups in the advancement of marginalised sections of society. “They provide the poor with self-confidence to overcome poverty,” the Congress leader had said in August 2013.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s remarks triggered an uproar by the Opposition in the Upper House. Following the ruckus, the finance minister took a dig at the Congress again with a Tamil proverb that meant “During rain, nobody knows where the frog is, but it does make sounds, so they know where it is.”
Nirmala Sitharaman made these remarks while replying on the Union Budget 2022 on Friday. Her statement came days after the Congress said that the Union Budget has nothing for the middle class, poor and farmers.
Soon after the Union Budget was presented by Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, Rahul Gandhi had dubbed the budget for 2022-23 as a “zero sum budget”, saying it has nothing for the salaried, middle class and the poor.
Besides attacking the Congress, Nirmala Sitharaman said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, “The budget stands for continuity, brings stability to the economy, predictability of taxation”.
“CPI inflation of that time [before BJP] was 9.1 per cent, for a reduction of only Rs 2.12 lakh crore. Global financial crisis hit us. But when the pandemic hit us, the loss of GDP [Gross domestic product] was 9.57 per cent and our management of inflation was such that it was only 6.2 per cent. The Opposition couldn’t handle a lesser crisis,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.
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“In order to attain growth, we wanted to undertake public expenditure in building infrastructure for a modern India. We thought of maximising the synergic outcome of infrastructure getting built in the forthcoming 25 years.” Nirmala Sitharaman said.