Opposition slams Budget as rhetoric, visionless; BJP, allies hail it as pro-people, pro-poor


Opposition parties on Monday slammed the Narendra Modi government for its “rhetoric and visionless” announcements made in the Budget 2018-19 and accused it of failing to provide employment and address farmers concerns.

They also hit out at the government for proposing a cess on petrol and diesel by Rs 1 per litre, saying common men will be suffering more if it was implemented.

Initiating a debate on the Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Congress’s Shashi Tharoor termed the Budget as rhetoric and full of empty promises and accused the government of not fulfilling its promise of generating two crore jobs annually.

Criticising the Budget he said that budgetary allocations to different sectors were not specified and the term Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, was mentioned only once in the entire Budget speech.

On July 5, Sitharaman had presented the first Budget of the Narendra Modi government’s second tenure.

“Term GDP was mentioned only once in the whole budget speech. A key contribution to GDP is not expanding but still the government claims of 7 per cent growth rate,” Tharoor said.

He said, under the crop insurance scheme, actually the Insurance companies are charging more from the farmers as premium and the timely compensation was not paid to the affected farmers.

On the cess over the fuel, he said, the common people were already paying the highest fuel prices in the world because of the government’s taxes on petrol and diesel at a time when prices of fuel were dropping worldwide.

“The farmers, who provide food security, have in the last five years received step-motherly treatment from this government which has resulted in a record level of farmer suicides,” he alleged.

DMK’s TR Baalu too attacked the government on fuel prices and demanded its rollback. He also sought to bring fuel under GST.

“Public is suffering, the common men are suffering. This is very much an awful thing. This government will be pulled down because of this reason. It affects the farmers, it affects the petty shop owners and it affects everybody,” he said.

“This has to be withdrawn forthwith and at the same time they should introduce GST on petrol and diesel without any loss of time,” he added.

The former Union Minister said that the public debt has mounted without any check causing severe damage to the economy.

Trinamool Congress slammed the Budget and called it a long speech without vision.

Speaking in Lok Sabha Kalyan Banerjee said: “Ever since I have been seeing the Budget speeches, I have never such a speech which is so lengthy and does not have any details or indication regarding how this object will be achieved,” Banerjee said in Lok Sabha.”

“It is having a tremendous effect on the daily lives of the people of the country. All will be affected. Each and everyone will be affected. Although in the world market the price of crude oil has not increased,” he said.

He said during the last five years the petrol price has been increased nine times while it has been decreased only twice.

The senior Trinamool leader said that the Budget was completely a visionless budget and in fact, the total vision is derailed.

Banerjee criticised the budget for being focussed on corporates.

“For disinvestment, you are selling the national property and thus selling the country. Air India was once compared with British Airways. Today, you want to sell it,” he said.

Banerjee criticized the Budget for being silent on unemployment, reduced interest rates of provident fund, fixed deposits and other tools of investment and saving.

However, the BJP and its allies hailed the Budget as pro-people and pro-poor.

Participating in the debate, BJP’s Jayant Sinha said, when the NDA Government came to power in 2014, the economic condition of the country was not in good shape and it put the economy on the track.

He claimed, the government will archive the target of making India a five trillion dollar economy.

Sinha said, by containing fiscal deficit, the government has reduced the borrowings and boost the savings.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal too hailed the government for implementing Ayushman Bharat scheme to provide Rs 5 lakh health cover annually to the poor family.

He, however, used the occasion to remind the Centre of its promise to make Chandigarh capital of Punjab.

“Revenue taken from Chandigarh should be remitted to Punjab and also be paid royalty for water used by Rajasthan. Punjab farmers need help and State deserves tax holiday on hill States pattern,” he said.

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