February 2, 2020

Chidambaram mocks govt’s fund allocation for J&K, says ‘money no substitute for freedom’

New Delhi: After the Centre, during the annual budget on Saturday, announced a generous amount of funds for the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, former finance minister P Chidambaram said that ‘money is no substitute for freedom’. While slamming the ruling government’s move of funds allocation for the northern Union Territories, he said, “Money is no substitute for freedom, what the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh require is freedom, people of Kashmir valley requires the resurrection of human rights.”
He further said, “Only a free society, people breathing free air can enjoy the fruits of development and participate in development. Money is no substitute for freedom if they think they can take away freedom and substitute it for money they are completely wrong.”
While rolling out the budget on Saturday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated Rs 30,757 crore for Jammu and Kashmir and Rs 5598 crore for Ladakh for 2020-21. Sitharaman also allocated Rs 100 crore for the G-20 Summit that is scheduled to take place in India soon. While speaking about the Summit, she said that India will host G20 Presidency in 2022 and that is why the government has allocated Rs 100 crore for the mega event. She further said that this money will help in the smooth preparations.
According to a media report, on being asked how he would rate the 2020 budget on a scale of 1 to 10, the former finance minister said, “Ten has two digits, one and a zero…You can pick either”. He further went on to say that the current government is in complete denial of the economy’s poor condition and that no efforts are being made to revive the economy. Media reports suggest that he said, “There is nothing in the Budget that leads us to believe that growth will revive in 2020-21. The claim of 6 to 6.5 per cent growth next year is astonishing and even irresponsible.”
Jammu and Kashmir has been in a state of lockdown since the month of August last year when the Modi-led government decided to abrogate Article 370 that granted special status to the residents of the then state. The move also caused the government to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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