The Congress on Thursday took a dig at the Centre after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman withdrew change in the interest rates of small saving schemes for the first quarter (April-June) of the financial year 2021-’22. The finance minister had said that significant cuts in the interest rates were “issued by oversight”.
Criticising Sitharaman for the move, the Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said on Twitter that Sitharaman does not have the “moral right” to continue as the finance minister. “Are you running a ‘Circus’ or a ‘Government’?” Surjewala asked. “One can imagine the functioning of economy when such duly approved order affecting crores of people can be issued by an ‘oversight’. Who is the competent authority referred in order?”
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted: “Really Nirmala Sitharaman, ‘oversight’ in issuing the order to decrease interest rates on GOI [government of India] schemes or election driven ‘hindsight’ in withdrawing it?”
Before the finance minister withdrew the order, a circular released on Wednesday by the central government said that interest rates on savings deposits have been cut from 4% to 3.5%. Interest rates on fixed deposits were cut in the range of 0.4% to 1.1%, across various tenors.
The rate of interest in the popular saving scheme Public Provident Fund, or PPF, was reduced from 7.1% to 6.4%. Similarly, the interest rate for the five-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme was lowered to 6.5%, and that on Kisan Vikas Patra was cut to 6.2%.