Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday hit out at the government over high unemployment rate in the country and said the Union Budget 2022-23 failed to address the concerns of the poor. They said the Budget was only intended to benefit big corporate houses.
During the discussion on the Union Budget, Congress member Kapil Sibal said the Budget had “no vision, no long-term plan”. Taking a dig at Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Mr. Sibal said her party, the BJP, should field her in elections so that she could see the reality on the ground.
Mr. Sibal said the government had given the corporate sector a tax cut in 2019, but it did not create wealth. He said there was a need to boost research and development spending, which would lead to wealth creation.
BJP member Sushil Kumar Modi, who spoke next, countered by saying the focus of the Budget had been on “jobs, jobs and jobs”. He said the government was providing job-oriented growth and that jobs would not be created by giving people “dole”.
CPI member Jharna Das Baidya said the Budget had “completely failed in identifying the priorities to provide relief for the common people”, saying the LPG subsidy had been cut and allocation for Anganwadis had remained the same.
Sukhram Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party said the Budget had made no mention of the farmers’ protest and did not provide any aid to the families of farmers who died during the protests against the three farm laws.
CPI’s Binoy Viswam said the Budget had “failed”.
“Everyone of us knows that in the present Budget the poor have been forgotten. In the beginning of the neo-liberalisation age, we heard of a great theory. That theory was the 'Trickle down theory’. But this Budget is a 'trickle up theory'. It is not for the poor. This Budget is for the rich at the top,” he said.
Welcoming the Budget, AIADMK member M. Thambidurai said he appreciated the government’s efforts to protect the economy during the pandemic. He, however, raised concerns over allocations to the States, saying it was time for the Centre to increase allocations. He noted that the State governments were yet to get their GST arrears and Tamil Nadu was facing the problem too.
CPI (M) member Elamaram Kareem said the Budget was “anti-people” and that it had failed to address the need of the house, job-creation.
M. Mohamed Abdulla of the DMK said that Budget imposed 30 % tax on virtual digital transaction asset or cryptocurrency. “To note here, cryptocurrency has not yet been legalised ..But, taxation shows that it is legal only by paying tax...there is still no regulatory body for cryptocurrency. I had also asked about another thing yesterday. For the first time ever in the history of the world, our Union Government is imposing tax without any legislation. There is no Act for cryptocurrency, but there is tax,” he said. He added that he was amazed that sanitary napkins are to be taxed at 12% but tax on diamond had been reduced to 5%.
K.R Suresh Reddy of the TRS said the Prime Minister mentioned about the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in his speech on Tuesday. “What was mentioned by the Prime Minister is something very, very disturbing for the people because it could be possible through a lot of struggle...we went through 14 years of struggle to eventually get it. The Bill was passed by Parliament, the House is supreme. Nobody can question the authority of the House. Not even the Prime Minister...if he is so worried about the bifurcation, how many times his government has brought amendments to the Bifurcation Bill here? Did you make any amends in the last eight years? The demands from Telangana and Andhra are continuously coming up. You refuse to chair even a single meeting,” Mr. Reddy said.
V. Vijayasai Reddy of the YSR Congress said the Income Tax deductions should be commensurate with the inflation rate. “There is a 10% increase in the overall tax revenues. The tax exemption limit, when you came to power in 2014, was Rs.2,50,000. Now, from 2014 to 2022, what is the inflation rate? Cumulative inflation is 48% whereas basic tax exemption limit remains the same. I request the Finance Minister to link this minimum tax exemption limit to inflation rate. Inflation has reached all-time high but tax rates remain the same,” he said.