The Minister of State for Commerce & Industry (Independent Charge), Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman addressing a press conference, in New Delhi on October 14, 2016.

Pandemic-hit economy not comparable to periods of normalcy: Nirmala Sitharaman

This is the use of the comfort of an opposition which has not done its homework. You are conveniently picking up a couple of lines from a tweet, which happens every morning, like that is the beginning and end of politics. Every morning there is a tweet and you conveniently pick up the top three lines for which I give you answers, and therefore give the comfort to the Congress that “BJP is looting India.” Who is saying that?

And you are unconsciously getting into that line of supporting because he is an opposition member. He is asking questions and you are agreeing with it, agreeing therefore by suggestion to align, which is shocking. Known for looting the country, the UPA’s ministers had to go to jail. Not a day would Rahul Gandhi say that of Congress Party, whereas that is the way he has to say it. What made the Congress party loot Supreme Court, had to cancel to 122 licences given. That is loot, Rahul Gandhi. That is loot.

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Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement

Navika Kumar, a senior journalist, accidentally I would like to believe, easily goes to pick up three lines which she could have, being a senior journalist, asked herself. But she wants to fall back on Rahul Gandhi and conveniently picks up those three lines and therefore inadvertently supports the line which whitewashes the Congress’s loot of this country. I am sorry, we have to be a bit more careful. And now coming to the three points.

Free food grain for 80 crore people for eight months, even now. This is during the pandemic. Compare a fall in the GDP with the normal year, and I would assume even a war-hit year in India as normal compared to the pandemic hit here. The globe itself is affected by it. Never in history in the last 100 years has the entire globe seen this kind of a ravage.

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No, I fully agree there is a layer which does not get covered under the PDS. They are not high net individuals. They need support, I grant that. Again, just want to be clear.

Among farmers there are no middle class? Among the MSME who are struggling to keep their nose above water, when we are extending the emergency credit guarantee liquidity scheme which is observed literally on a daily basis, are they not middle class? When employees who, probably because of the lockdown staying away, are allowed to draw their EPFO funds well in advance, so that there will be some money in their hands, are they not middle class?

Middle class is a very large section which compromises of many groups. If you ask me a question about the entire frame of middle class, I will have to give an answer which are in bits and pieces which may not add up to the largeness of the question that you ask. But we are addressing them.

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