Flatter to deceive?
The government’s Rs 20-trillion rescue package has proved to be a damp squib with economists and the stock markets giving it a thumbs down. The reason for discontentment is that the actual fiscal outlay is only a fraction of the amount. In a hidden jibe, Harsh Goenka, chairman, RPG Enterprises, on Tuesday tweeted, “On graduation I promised my son Rs 1 crore. My package details: 25 lacs cost of his studies in last 14 years; 15 lacs cost of all his food and holidays; 30 lacs cost of his room in my apartment; 25 lacs kept in a bank against which he can take loan; 5 lacs kept for his future needs.”
Leading the pack
D K Shivakumar was recently appointed president of the Karnataka state unit of the Congress. He has already made waves with his proactive approach. He was the first leader to object to the Railways and state governments taking train fares from the migrants heading home from Karnataka, and, as a mark of protest, offered to buy tickets for them. This had led to Congress President Sonia Gandhi asking all Congress state units across the country to follow suit, and ended up in some embarrassment for the government. Shivakumar has now proposed that he will tour “the length and breadth of Karnataka” once the lockdown restrictions are lifted and people are allowed to travel. He said this would help him understand the “trials and tribulations” of the common people because of the spread of the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown. Looks like Shivakumar would again set the agenda for other Congress leaders.
The meeting is on
Top opposition leaders will hold a strategy meeting via video conference on Friday. This will be their first meeting after the coronavirus lockdown was enforced. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had been suggesting to their counterparts to hold such a meeting to jointly discuss the fallout of the spread of coronavirus and of the lockdown, and the ensuing humanitarian and economic crisis. The invites for the meeting have gone out from the Congress. The Congress and other opposition parties have, in the last couple of days, also sought to highlight that the Rs 20-trillion package, announced by the government, really amounted to 1 per cent of the country’s GDP, and not 10 per cent as the prime minister had claimed. Other leaders likely to attend are Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Hemant Soren, and the CPI’s D Raja.