Other States

Nothing for middle class, farmers: Akali Dal

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

Rejecting the Union Budget as being reflective of the BJP-led Central government’s total apathy towards the common man, the middle class and the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Monday that even the vital Defence sector had not been adequately addressed despite the growing border threat from China and Pakistan, while Health allocation was actually down amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Trashing the Centre’s claim that the health sector allotment had been increased by 35%, the Chief Minister said the fact was that numbers had been effectively fudged to project a hike by including the ₹35000 crore COVID-19 vaccine allotment and the amount set aside for sanitation and cleanliness under the health head. Actually, the budget for health was down 10%, he added.

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal said the entire North India had been ignored again in the Budget he termed ‘poll-bound States-centric’. “The Union Budget’s politicisation has now reached unprecedented levels,” he said.

Both agriculture and defence get a nominal increase, he said. “All northern States are focused on agriculture and defence, and the idea of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan has been consistently ignored by the NDA government. The Budget is silent on agriculture, it is silent on unemployment, it is silent on agricultural unrest, it is silent on MSP, it is silent on revenue generation, it is silent on the middle classes, and it is silent on DisComs,” he said.

BJP’s former ally, Shiromani Akali Dal said the budget was anti-farmer, anti-poor and anti common man, and the sole focus of the BJP-led Central government was on selling off national assets to its corporate friends.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the Budget had also punished Punjabis for supporting the peaceful agitation against the three agricultural laws, as nothing was earmarked for the State.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) termed the Budget anti-people and anti-Punjab. Senior leader of the party and Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Punjab Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, said the Budget would only increase the problems of the common man, along with inflation.

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said the Budget had disappointed every section. “Haryana has also been ignored. The government has only taken care of its capitalist friends in this Budget, the common people have not received anything,” she said.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 6:59:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/nothing-for-middle-class-farmers-akali-dal/article33722394.ece

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