Calling the stimulus package announced by the central government ‘inappropriate’, Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy said a large part of it was actually ‘fiscal concessions’.
He also said that Hindutva will win again in India in 2024 general elections.
Swamy was in conversation with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, and senior journalist and author Kaveree Bamzai in E-Expressions, a series of live webcasts with people who matter.
Speaking about the economy Swamy said, “In financial year 2014-15, we had achieved 8% growth rate. And then, every year it started coming down without fail. The last quarter of 2019-20 is only 3.1%... So, when the coronavirus hit us, we already had a declining trend. Then, this short-notice complete lockdown created a chaotic situation where businesses closed down, everything closed down.” Swamy said that he faced criticism when he first talked about the sharp decline.
“I thought that the first quarter of 2020-21 (April1-June 30) will be declining by about 25%. And everybody criticised me. It turned out to be 23.9%... This will continue and probably by the end of this financial year, I think our overall growth rate would be -15% and that is a huge drop from 8%.”
On the stimulus package, Swamy said, “They had a stimulus package. But, out of 21 trillion rupees, only 1.2 trillion rupees was for stimulus and the rest was fiscal concessions.”
He said that for the last four-five years, there has been a demand deficit in the Indian economy.
“It came because of demonetisation, because of the tax terrorism as it was called, and we also found Income tax being more and more complicated, then GST…Your focus should be how to put money into people’s hands so that they can buy… This stimulus was totally inappropriate because it was empowering the suppliers.” The MP said the government has handled the Covid-19 situation well, but people should have been given enough time before announcing the lockdown.
Speaking about the US elections, Swamy said that last time, he was the only one to predict about the victory of Donald Trump. “If Biden doesn’t make a mistake — like he made a mistake by going to the Muslim group and saying that ‘when we come power we teach the Indians lessons’ — and as long as they don’t frighten somebody, it will be a close call...As of now, I believe Trump will win,” he added.
Speaking about the Sushant Singh Rajput case, Swamy said the CBI came in very late.
“There has been a systematic destruction of evidence. So it has to be built on circumstantial evidence,” he added.
On the 2024 polls, he said that Hindutva will win again. “It won in 2014 and 2019. Modi was a person who was convenient for us because he was acceptable as the Prime Minister.”