Is declaration of economic emergency inevitable, asks Subramanian Swamy

Swamy has sought a package of economic relief measures due to the COVID-19 situation

Dr._Subramanian_Swamy_at_KLF2016 Subramanian Swamy | Wikimedia Commons

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has been warning about the economic polices of the Narendra Modi government being flawed for years now.

His usual targets, via articles and tweets, have been the occupants of the chair of finance minister, a portfolio he has openly coveted.

In recent weeks, Swamy has warned of the likely costs of the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has already hit various sectors of the economy.

On Saturday, Swamy seemingly adopted an alarmist tone on Twitter, asking whether "declaration of economic emergency" is becoming inevitable. Swamy tweeted," Is now declaration of Economic Emergency becoming inevitable? Govt must put doubts at rest".

Swamy then went further, apparently taking a jibe at the competence of the Narendra Modi government. Swamy tweeted, "Emergency declaration for a just cause according to the Constitution, as amended by Janata Government in 1978, is a weapon which I would not like to place in the hands of the incompetent".

A financial emergency is one of the three types of emergency declarations provided in the Indian Constitution, the others being national emergency and failure of constitutional machinery in states. Article 360 of the Constitution empowers the government to ask the president to enforce a financial emergency if a "situation has arisen whereby the financial stability or credit of India or of any part of the territory thereof is threatened".

During a financial emergency, "the executive authority of the Union shall extend to the giving of directions to any state..." on financial matters. A financial emergency has not been imposed in India yet.

On Friday, Swamy sent a letter to Modi, calling for assistance to sectors hit by the coronavirus. In the letter, Swamy lists measures by various countries to aid affected sectors. In the letter, Swamy argued the "package of economic relief measures is very crucial at this stage". During his address to the nation on March 19, Modi had announced a task force would be constituted by the finance minister to discuss and prepare measures to deal with the impact of the novel coronavirus.

When asked by a Twitter user on Saturday whether India faces a complete lockdown from April to June, Swamy claimed the ministry of finance was "bound to take us there".Swamy tweeted "No idea. Clueless MoF is bound to take us there".

In January, Swamy had said the economy is in bad shape and tax terrorism existed. “The economy is in dire times, everything is going downwards, if the trend continues banks will close down, NBFCs will close down and (it will) lead to disaster," Swamy said.

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