Twitter reacts to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s “oversight” after she reverses slashed interest rates

#LutGaiSaving trended on Twitter all Thursday morning as people assumed it was an April Fools’ Day prank.

After finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman withdrew the announcement of a cut in the interest rates of small savings schemes, Twitter flooded with posts labelling it an April Fools’ prank.

On Wednesday, the government had cut down the interest rates by 50-110 basis points, for the first quarter of the financial year starting April 2021.

The interest rate on Public Provident Fund (PPF) had been cut down from 7.1 to 6.4 per cent, that on National Savings Certificate had been cut down from 6.8 to 5.9 per cent and that on Kisan Vikas Patra became 6.2 from 6.5 per cent. The Sukanya Samridhi Account Scheme interest rate fell down from 7.6 to 6.9 per cent.

However, after severe social media backlash at the decision, this morning Sitharaman tweeted, “Interest rates of small savings schemes of government of India shall continue to be at the rates which existed in the last quarter of 2020-2021, ie, rates that prevailed as of March 2021. Orders issued by oversight shall be withdrawn.”

Today’s reversal of the announcement would mean that the interest rates would remain as they were in the final quarter of the last financial year, 2020-21.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted that it was an “election-driven hindsight”. The cut came at a time when four states and one union territory are going for elections, and the anger of the people would have been visible in the polls.

While politicians and political analysts termed it an election gimmick to not lose out on voters, Twitter made this “oversight”, their joke of the day. #LutGaiSaving trended on the social media platform throughout Thursday morning, as more and more people tweeted about the ‘prank’ the government played on them.

While a few tweets claimed that it was the middle class people who had been fooled by the finance ministry yesterday, others said that it was the country that had been fooled by the government. What remained a constant throughout the tweets were stills from famous Bollywood movies, fitting appropriately with the situation at hand.

This is the second time in the last year that the interest rates were slashed. In the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year, the rates had been cut by 70-140 basis points. However, this was the first time since 1974, that the PPF rates would have been below 7 per cent.

After April 2016, since the government switched to a quarterly interest rate setting system, this was the first instance of it reversing an earlier order of cutting down interest rates.

After the strong backlash the government faced on social media after this announcement, the questions remains if it’ll modify the rates again in the upcoming quarters.

Edited by- Garima Sadhwani, with agency inputs