Union Budget 2022 | Huge disappointment for TN and its people, says Stalin

Not extending GST compensation beyond June shows the Union government’s big brother attitude, contends CM

Updated - February 01, 2022 08:47 pm IST

Published - February 01, 2022 08:46 pm IST - CHENNAI:

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. File

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. File

Pointing out that Tamil Nadu’s expectations for sanctioning of funds for schemes and relief for meeting losses incurred during the recent natural disasters, including floods, remained unaddressed in the Union Budget 2022-23, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Tuesday said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget was “hugely disappointing” to Tamil Nadu and its people.

Opposing the ‘One Nation, One Registration’ proposal, Mr. Stalin said it revealed how the Union government was “keen on snatching the rights of the States” in whichever announcement it makes. “It would be apt to call this Union budget as a budget which forgot the welfare of the people,” Mr. Stalin said in a three-page statement.

Though the proposed allocation of ₹1 lakh-crore on the basis of “Cooperative Federalism” appeared to benefit the States, Mr. Stalin contended that the funds would be spent on Prime Minister’s ‘Gati Shakti’ Plan and hence in the name of allocating funds for the States, the Union government would spend the funds on its own schemes.

“If only the allocation of ₹1 lakh-crore is made without any conditions, I would have been the first to welcome it. But, how will it help the States when various conditions are laid for its allocation which do not help the States in receiving the funds?” Mr. Stalin questioned.

It was only “consoling” to note that detailed project report for the Godavari-Pennar-Cauvery link project was ready. However, “it is worrisome that even the preliminary fund allocation for the project is missing in the budget,” he said. Pointing out the absence of any fund allocation for the Defence Corridor in the State, he contended: “Even in this sector, Tamil Nadu has been boycotted.”

Despite the Prime Minister making assurances in various international fora on tackling climate change, the Union Budget has not made any announcement or allocated sufficient funds for States that have come forward to take the lead in this sector, he pointed out.

The Union Budget lacked any scheme for providing relief to people whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or schemes to protect MSMEs, he said adding the Union government has not taken any effort regarding the fiscal deficit of the States. The Chief Minister pointed out that States would be allowed a fiscal deficit of 4% of GSDP in 2022-23, of which 0.5% is tied to reforms in power sector.

“This would be hugely critical for States like Tamil Nadu that have been offering free electricity to benefit farmers. The States should have been allowed a fiscal deficit of 5% of GSDP without any conditions,” Mr. Stalin contended. Rejecting the demands of the State governments to extend the GST compensation beyond June 30, 2022 “only showed the Union government’s big brother attitude that would not help in the Union-States relations,” Mr. Stalin said.

While there were demands for expanding the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to town panchayats, the reduction in the budget for the implementation of the scheme by ₹25,000 crore was not only an effort to stop the scheme introduced by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) but also revealed its intention to take away money from the hands of the downtrodden, he charged.

Mr. Stalin said the expectations of the people over the Union Budget which has been presented ahead of the Assembly elections in five States have been boycotted and it would be apt to call the Budget as one that ignored the welfare of the people. The Union Budget was merely filled with decorative words, he said and pointed out that there was no change in the personal income tax rates and there was no scheme for families of farmers, who died protesting against the three contentious farm laws enacted by the Union government only to be repealed later.

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