Pro-rich, pro-corporate, says opposition

‘It carries forward more aggressively the neo-liberal economic agenda of the earlier UPA government’

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:15 pm IST

Published - February 28, 2015 11:30 pm IST - New Delhi:

Opposition parties were almost uniformly critical of the Union Budget, attacking it for being “pro-rich” and “pro-corporate,” while stressing that the increase in service tax would hit the middle class.

The Left parties were the most vocal. Pointing out that the budget “carries forward more aggressively the neo-liberal economic agenda of the earlier UPA government,” the CPI (M) said: “The rich, both foreign and domestic corporates, have been hugely benefited. The budget proposals will reduce direct taxes by Rs.8,315 crore benefiting the rich and increase the burdens on the people through indirect tax hike of Rs.23,383 crore.”

Instead of expanding public expenditure to stimulate growth, employment and people’s livelihood, these expenditures were being squeezed, the party said. The “much tom-tommed higher allocation to the States in the name of ‘cooperative federalism’ is nothing but transferring the amounts from the Central schemes to the States. The total transfers to the States, including loans and grants, as a share of GDP will, in fact, be lower than what was budgeted for 2014-15.”

The CPI described the budget as “pro-rich, pro-corporate,” and pointed out that “private insurance companies are given leverage to increase their business for health insurance whereas the public health system for the common man is not addressed in earnest as the budget does not provide enough to strengthen the government health system delivery which is the dire need of almost 80% population of the country.” The budget, the party said, not only totally ignored the demands of the working class but also attacked the statutory social security schemes by making coverage under the ESI and Provident Fund optional.

AIADMK general secretary and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said while there has been considerable talk of cooperative federalism, the actual measures taken in the budget have belied this rhetoric.

The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had nothing positive to say. SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav lamented the increase in custom excise and service tax, saying they would lead to inflation. “The budget has disappointed the people of U.P.,” he added. Describing the budget as anti-poor, BSP chief Mayawati said: “This is not a practical budget, not as per the aspirations of the poor and the common man of the nation.”

Mixed response National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s response was mixed: “If Kashmir is to get an AIIMS rather than a greenfield project, I hope the money is pumped into SKIMS to raise it to global standards. Bricks and mortar don’t make AIIMS and IIMs. In fact quite the opposite, they dilute the brand equity of the original institution.”

Even the Biju Janata Dal’s Jay Panda, who was seen thumping his desk often during Mr. Jaitley’s budget speech, said although it was a “big bang budget” in terms of country and the economy, he was not satisfied as no special package was announced for Odisha. “In my home State, there will be disappointment because neighbouring States have got special packages and we, too, need it.”

budget 2015

Here are sector-wise highlights

Taxation

Infrastructure

Education

Welfare schemes

Agriculture

Rural Infrastructure Development Bank Micro Irrigation Programme Targeted for farmer credit

Defence

allocated for defence (an increase of 9.87 per cent over last year)

Renewable energy

electric cars production Solar power Wind power Bio Mass Small Hydro

Tourism

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.