‘Oversight or Election-Driven Hindsight?’ Priyanka Gandhi to FM
As per the earlier announcement, the interest rates on savings deposit were decreased from 4 % to 3.5 % annually.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Thursday, 1 April, asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman if the Centre's overnight turnabout on small savings scheme interest rates was a case of "oversight" as was claimed, or one of election-driven "hindsight".
The Congress leader took to social media platform Twitter less than an hour after Sitharaman’s post on the order’s reversal, which had come on the last day of Financial Year 2020-2021.
Less than a day after the Union Finance Ministry issued the notification on cutting interest rates on small savings schemes, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Thursday that the order was withdrawn.
Surjewala, Chidambaram React
Priyanka Gandhi’s party colleague, Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala also censured the Finance Minister by asking if she was running a ‘circus’ or a ‘government’.
“One can imagine the functioning of economy when such duly approved order affecting crores of people can be issued by an ‘oversight’,” he added.
Former Finance Minister and Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram slammed the government on Thursday, saying that the Union government’s order was “another assault on the middle class” and “when caught, the FM is putting forward the lame excuse of “inadvertent error”.
He tweeted, “Announcement of interest rates on savings instruments for the next quarter is a regular exercise. There is nothing “inadvertent” about its release on 31 March.”
The Trinamool Congress, which is in stiff competition with the BJP in West Bengal’s ongoing Assembly polls, also mocked the Central government.
As per the earlier announcement by the Finance Ministry, the interest rates on savings deposit was to go down from 4 percent to 3.5 percent annually, while Public Provident Fund (PPF) was to be reduced from 7.1 percent to 6.4 percent. With this, the PPF rates were at a four-decade low.
Sitharaman on Thursday said that the interest rates on small savings schemes, including NSC and PPF, shall continue to exist at the same rates as that of March 2021, adding that the orders were issued by an “oversight”.
A cut in the interest rates for small savings schemes would have delivered a blow to savers, who depend on these schemes for income and social security.
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