Video Producer: Akanksha Pandey
Video Editor: Pawan Kumar
During the winter session of the parliament, on 21 December 2022, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman responded to Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Raghav Chadha and Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) Manoj Jha’s jabs with equal fire. She responded to them on issues such as inflation, subsidies, and the Enforcement Directorate.
On 20 December, in the Rajya Sabha, Raghav Chadha posed some pointed questions at the finance minister on the Supplementary Demand for Grants, and made various statistical claims. He also took a jibe at the centre for the functioning of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
'Freebies' vs Subsidies
He also brought up the 'freebies' issue. He said that the Supplementary Demands for Grants had an allocation for subsidies, but when the AAP provides subsidies on electricity, healthcare and education, among other things, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government calls them 'freebies'.
Finance minister Sitharaman responded to him by firstly correcting his numbers on the issue of inflation and Wholesale Price Index (WPI). She further said that all subsidies are justified as long as they are accounted for in the budgets.
She took a potshot at Raghav Chadha, saying that despite being a certified chartered accountant, he had his numbers wrong.
Double Engine or Trouble Engine?
Sitharaman also responded to Manoj Jha's remarks on 'double-engine' and 'trouble-engine'. He was referring to the leeway that the centre gives to the corporates.
In her response, she brought up the issue of Sardar Sarovar Dam. She said that when the UPA government was in power, it tried its best to halt and delay the Sardar Sarovar Dam project.
Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister, in a speech from 2013 and 2017, she said,
‘The UPA government was a troublemaker for Sardar Sarovar Dam and it did not give necessary clearances and used every trick in the book to delay the project, for settling political scores’.
'Isn’t that trouble engine Manoj Jha ji? Again, Why shouldn’t people vote for double engine (government) if this is the kind of trouble, trouble engines create?' she further added.