The Indian economy was suffering from "coronavirus", the Congress said on Thursday and demanded a detailed statement in Parliament from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the economic decline of the country.
The opposition party also alleged that the State Bank of India's (SBI) slashing of interest rates on savings bank accounts and fixed deposits was aimed at funding the revival of Yes Bank which was reeling under loan defaults by "friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi".
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Sensex has crashed by 2,700 points and caused a loss of Rs 11 trillion for investors on Thursday.
"Those who invested in share markets and mutual funds will have to bear the brunt. In 72 hours, small and medium investors have lost Rs 18 trillion. This money largely belongs to the salaried class and small investors," he told reporters outside Parliament.
"The economy is suffering from coronavirus, but the prime minister and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are silent," Surjewala said.
Equity benchmark Sensex crashed over 2,700 points and the broader Nifty sank below 9,700 (intra-day) on Thursday after WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, spiking fears of a global economic recession.
Taking a dig at the prime minister, Surjewala also tweeted, "Congratulations to PM Modi. $1= Rs 75.16. Rupee has now joined the ranks of 'Margdarshak Mandal'."
मोदी जी को बधाई!
1 अमेरिकी डालर = ₹75.16
आपने रुपैया “मार्गदर्शक मंडल” में पहुँचा दिया। pic.twitter.com/s2JK5T8Tze — Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) March 12, 2020
BJP's 'Margdarshak Mandal' includes leaders above 75 years of age.
The international prices of crude oil have fallen to less than $35 per barrel but petrol remains over Rs 70 per litre, Surjewala said.
"When in 2004 November, prices of crude oil had fallen to $35, then petrol prices in the country was Rs 37.84 per litre. Now when it is at less then $35, petrol prices are over Rs 70. You (Modi government) are pocketing money while impacting the pocket of the common man," Surjewala said.
He also said the economy was suffering from "coronavirus" and the "economic corona" has plagued the country's growth.
The Congress leader alleged that the SBI will put money in YES bank revival because "Prime Minister Modi's friends" have defaulted on loans there and that entire money will be taken from the pockets of the common man, old people and housewives who have accounts in State Bank of India.
"The US and Australia have given a special stimulus package (in the wake of the coronavirus impacting economy), but the PM is silent. Parliament is on, our demand from the PM is that he should come before the nation and give a detailed statement on the sliding economy that is suffering from economic corona," Surjewala said.
The SBI on Wednesday cut interest on savings bank accounts to 3 per cent and also waived minimum balance requirement, as it set the trend of lowering interest rates in the banking sector. The country's largest lender has 44.51 crore savings bank (SB) accounts.
It also reduced its fixed deposit rates and marginal cost of funds-based lending rates (MCLR) for various tenors.