Express News Service
BENGALURU: Amid criticism over the Centre’s move to disinvest in nationalised banks and several Public Sector Undertakings in the non-strategic sector, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday defended the decision, insisting that it was necessary for a robust economy. At an event organised by the economic cell of the BJP in Bengaluru, Nirmala, who was here on a two-day visit, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to several economists, business leaders and experts before taking the decision. She refuted criticisms that the government’s move was akin to “selling off the family silver.”
Nirmala also stressed that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government did not believe in a socialist model, but was committed to Antyodaya. “Even from the times of Jan Sangh, we have never liked the ideology of socialism. It is an import from the USSR,” she said, adding that the BJP was more focused on ‘Anyodaya’ and schemes like Ujjwala, Ujala, Jan Dhan, Krishi Samman were the result of this commitment.
“The PM repeats that wealth creation is not wrong. In fact, we need to honour wealth creators, otherwise where are you going to generate money for your Antyodaya? And without that stream of people honourably producing, selling, trading, exporting and paying due taxes, the money that is required for Ujjwala, for farmers, is not going to come. So, why pretend that the welfare state will be from money which will come from God knows where,” she remarked.
“If the economy has to be robust, many of the PSUs will have to keep running and can’t stagnate, nor can they be closed. If the government is not able to run them, and they are stagnating in the process, wouldn’t it be better that they are given off to somebody who can justifiably run them?” she asked the gathering.
‘Take Union Budget to people’s doorsteps’
“The produce from these (public sector) units are still required. You want the steel, coal and electricity and the many other things which the government is doing. But unfortunately, it has limited resources to go on giving funds as capital infusion. So, if there are Indian citizens, or groups of Indian citizens, who can take it up and run it profitably, wouldn’t the economy benefit?” Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitha raman asked the gathering. The minister also insisted that the Union Budget aims to help wealth creators so that the taxes they pay are used for welfare programmes. She also exhorted party workers to take the spirit of the Union Budget 2021-22 to the doorsteps of the people.