Chidambaram asks Jaitley to cut indirect taxes immediately

New Delhi, Feb 12: Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who feels the Union Budget for 2017-18 is "aimless and directionless", says the government should immediately cut indirect taxes across the board to revive the sagging economy.

Demonetisation, he said, damaged India's GDP growth in 2016-17 and fears that its shadow will fall on 2017-18 and some parts of 2018-19. 

He also said lack of creation of jobs for the youth is a powder keg and a small spark can lead to a large explosion. Resentment may not be visible but it can be a "silent killer". 

"What is the overarching goal of this budget? It is aimless and directionless," said Chidambaram, who has presented nine Union Budgets in a span of nearly two decades. 

"Sometimes, you chase growth. Sometimes, you chase financial and monetary stability. Sometimes, the goal is boosting growth in a slowing economy," he told PTI in an interview.

Chidambaram said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley missed an opportunity at reviving the economy hit by demonetisation. "That (cutting indirect taxes) is a tried and tested and proven method of boosting economy. He could have easily cut between 4-8 per cent (tax) across the board.