India's former Finance Minister and Congress politician P. Chidambaram on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling BJP party over the "deepening economic crisis" in the country.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Chidambaram wondered when Prime Minister Modi will "acknowledge his failure" and pointed out the severe stress being witnessed in sectors like aviation and telecoms.
When will the BJP government acknowledge the gravity of the deepening economic crisis in the country? When will the Prime Minister acknowledge his failure and the failure of his economic managers?— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) July 30, 2020
In follow-up tweets, Chidambaram raised the issue of massive losses faced by several industries and the ensuing job crisis if key sectors like telecoms and aviation collapse.
Will the government realize that the aviation industry has suffered massive losses and every one of them will go the Air India way unless the government steps in with a rescue plan?— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) July 30, 2020
Millions have lost their jobs or livelihood in the last 12 months. The collapse of two major industries — telecom and aviation — will cost many more thousand direct and indirect jobs— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) July 30, 2020
While the aviation sector is facing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, the telecoms sector is weighed down by $20 billion in statutory dues in the form of licence and spectrum fees that need to be paid to the government by telecom firms.
As an impact of the pandemic, a large amount of aviation capacity remains unused as international flight operations have not resumed and domestic operations are only carried out with severe restrictions.
Due to the COVID-19 curbs, Indian private sector airlines posted net losses in the April – June quarter.
On Wednesday, Indigo posted a net loss of $379 million in April – June this year against a net profit of $160 million in the same period last year. Another major private airline, Spicejet reported a net loss of $107 million for January – March.
India’s national carrier Air India has sent a section of staff on furlough for up to five years.
The Indian government rolled out a $266 billion package in May to tide businesses and industries over the crisis, while the Reserve Bank of India pumped $126 billion of liquidity into the financial system.