Budget 2021

Budget disappointing and anti-poor: Opposition

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi during the presentation of the Union Budget 2014-15 in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Thursday.  

Opposition parties on Thursday termed Narendra Modi government’s maiden budget a “disappointment” and an “anti-poor” exercise which can “benefit only the rich“.

Despite raising expectations, the budget has turned out to be a “missed opportunity” for BJP, they said as they begun by expressing apprehension that raising the tax exemption limit by Rs 50,000 was just “inadequate” when inflation was running high.

“This budget has nothing for the ‘aam aadmi’ and the poor. They have announced tax concessions to help corporates and big industrial houses.

“While on the one hand, they have said they will continue with the tax collection fixed by the previous government, they have given concession to the big industrial houses under pressure,” said the Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge.

Mr. Kharge said the budget offers nothing for welfare schemes like MGNREGA and averred that the tax exemption would not help the common man battle the high inflation.

The deputy leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Capt Amrinder Singh, said the budget was “not pro-poor“.

NCP chief and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said, “It is a disappointment, rain of announcements, bunch of words and, lastly, insufficient fuel supply to engine of growth.

“It is a corporate budget. There is nothing exceptional in this budget. There is nothing that will help the common man facing the brunt of rising prices. The Rs. 50,000 raise in tax exemption limit will not help the common man. With the rise in indirect taxes, prices of all items are going to rise.”

Mr. Pawar, however, hailed the ‘one-rank-one-pension’ provision for ex-servicemen, which the previous UPA government had initiated, and grant of heritage status to Amritsar.

But BJD leader Baijayant Panda gave a “cautious thumbs up” to the budget saying that, “under the prevailing circumstances, the Finance Minister has handled it well, particularly the infrastructure sector, the thrust on Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and rural development, like drinking water schemes.”

Congress leader Veerappa Moily said the budget is “average” and makes no mention of how the government proposes to put the country on the path to recovery from the recession of earlier years.

“It is an average budget. We expected a lot of things, particularly from Arun Jaitley because he is a person who can work on these things. Unfortunately, I don’t know how everything is diluted. Reform measures do not find a place (in the budget),” Moily said.

Congress leader Ashwani Kumar dubbed the Budget as a “missed opportunity” for BJP. It is a “lacklustre” budget and nothing more than an exercise in “fraudulent symbolism. It is high on rhetoric and low on substance“.

President of the Indian Union Muslim League, E Ahamed, too, termed the budget “lacklustre” and “anti-poor and pro-rich”.

Mr. Ahamed, a former UPA minister, said, “As far as minorities are concerned, it is very disappointing. Minorities are also living in this country but the budget has completely neglected them.

Nothing for backward states: Nitish

Senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar also joined the opposition chorus and described as “disappointing” the maiden general budget of Narendra Modi government. There was nothing for backward states like Bihar to cheer “acche din” (good days), he said.

“There is no mention of either special status for Bihar or special package, the promise which was made during Parliamentary election,” Mr. Kumar told reporters.

“They have forgotten everything after getting votes of people. It seems Bihar is not on radar of the BJP—led NDA government,” Mr. Kumar said on general budget presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

According to the Economic Survey, Bihar was the best performing state in terms of growth in GDP and income tax mobilisation and even the Rangarajan committee had praised the state for being top in reducing poverty, he said.

“But it seems there is no finance for Centre to encourage economic performance of backward states like Bihar,” the former Bihar Chief Minister said.

Pointing to the relaxation in Income tax exemption limit from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh, Kumar said “They used to talk about ‘tax terror’ during UPA time and had promised to enhance the exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh during poll campaign but did not fullfill the commitment.”

“The budget has nothing new except for recipe to increase FDI in defence and Insurance fields,” he said.

Mr. Jaitley talked about promoting the Buddhist circuit, but Rajgir and Vaishali linked with Buddhism found no mention in it, Kumar said adding there was also no mention of assistance for Nalanda International University or including Bodh Gaya in the list of World Heritage sites.

Two agriculture and as many horticulture universities would be opened, but Bihar got none of them, he said.

“The budget does not provide any relief to common man.

They have played a smart game of making high sounding noise during election campaign and seems to have forgotten everything after getting power,” Mr. Kumar said.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:40:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-disappointing-and-antipoor-opposition/article6197022.ece

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