NEW DELHI: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has joined the chorus against the government’s decision to freeze dearness allowance of its employees earlier this week, saying the the move was unnecessary at this stage.
Congress on Saturday morning released a video sharing views of its senior leaders who are part of an internal consultative committee formed to deliberate on national issues. According to a person aware of developments, the video was part of an online meeting of the committee which took place on Friday.
“We should be on the side of people whose dearness allowance has been cut. I sincerely believe that this is not necessary at this stage to impose hardship on government servants and also on the armed forces at the same time,” Singh said in the video while interacting with other members of the consultative committee.
Singh’s comments are significant because the Congress is now likely to submit a formal suggestion to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union government over the issue.
The union government on Thursday froze inflation-linked pay hikes for 11.5 million of its employees and pensioners for 18 months as it moved to create fiscal space to build a ₹1.2 trillion war chest to combat the coronavirus pandemic and the massive stimulus spending needed to revive a stalled economy.
Congress claims the move would cause hardship to the middle class even as the union government has not announced putting projects like central vista on hold.
Echoing the views, former party president Rahul Gandhi during the consultative meeting said the government has continued with extravagant expenditures in the form of central vista but not giving money to the poor.
Taking on Gandhi’s comments on Friday, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and union minister Prakash Javadekar said Congress had a “bankrupt” leadership which was fighting the ruling party when the whole country was battling the pandemic.
“There is this bankrupt leadership of the Congress which opposes every move of the government every day. Let the Congress understand the pulse and mood of the nation… Nobody is opposing the government except Rahul Gandhi and his gang,” Javadekar was quoted as saying in a report by Press Trust of India.