Budget 2020 | Is it the end of an era, asks Mamata

Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee  

West Bengal Chief Minister expressed shock at Centre’s decision to sell stake in LIC

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday expressed shock at the Union Government’s decision to sell its stake in the Life Insurance Corporation ( LIC) and wondered whether the decision portended the “end of an era.”

“I am shocked & appalled to see how the Central Government plans to ambush the heritage & legacy of public institutions,” the Chief Minister tweeted. “Is it also the end of an era? #LIC #IndianRailways #AirIndia #BSNL”, she added.

While the announcement about selling a part of its holding in LIC was made in the Budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier in the day, the Centre has often expressed its preference for opening up some sections of the Indian Railways for private sector investment and privatising Air India.

‘From ICU to ventilator’

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said that before the Budget, “economy was in ICU (Intensive Care Unit), and now it is on a ventilator.”

Mr. Mitra, who had previously served as secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), described the Budget as anti-people. There was nothing for the people at bottom of the pyramid.

“Radical reductions have taken place in funds for the schemes for agriculture, health, education, SC-ST, and together they constitute a reduction of 8.9%. This tells that the government has no vision about the social infrastructure.” The Minister said reductions had also been made in MGNREGA and the National Health Mission.

Mr. Mitra said LIC had been struggling with NPAs of over ₹30,000 crore and “now it has been opened to private players to be eaten.” He also described the income tax reduction in the Budget as a “bluff,” giving with one hand and taking more with the other.

Leader of the Trinamool Congress in the Rajya Sabha and the party’s national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien said that there was no mention of jobs and the unorganised workers in the Budget. The TMC MP said that Centre’s budget for Beti Padhao Beti Bachao scheme all these years had been ₹644 crore, whereas the Bengal government had spent ₹700 crore on the Kanyashree scheme.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 8:59:02 AM |

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