New Delhi: The Opposition and some parties supporting the government on Thursday slammed the General Budget as "jugglery" of numbers and said it had forgotten the 'aam admi', who was already burdened by price rise, and had nothing to offer to the farmers. (Agencies)
Expressing disappointment with the budget proposals, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said "it is unimaginative, dull and boring". "There is nothing for the women, youth and poor" in this budget and neither is anything there for boosting the agri sector or for controlling prices," she said.
BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the budget is "verbose" and "extremely low on substance" and has a bit of "jugglery" to cut down on expenditure. "Having pushed the economy in a distress situation, he comes out with a budget of helplessness. In the first nine years, UPA government pushed the economy in distress and then a helpless Finance Minister comes out with a budget which has very little elbow space," he said.
BJP leader Mukhthar Abbas Naqvi said, "The nine-year-old non-performing government has come out with a box of promises. It’s a disappointment and confusing budget." BJD MP Kalikesh Singh Deo lamented that no growth-oriented reforms have been unveiled. "It's a thumbs down below average budget.
Claiming that the budget has failed to chart a roadmap to encourage key sectors like infrastructure, power and manufacturing of the economy which was going through a very difficult phase, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said the UPA government failed to come out with any concrete steps to rebound the economy.
"In the entire budget, there is no big picture as to how in the 10th year of the government you are going to help the growth in the key infrastructure sector," Prasad said.
Critical of government's handling of the economy, he said the Finance Minister even failed to come out with measures to revive the manufacturing, agricultural and power sectors.
"All the key sectors are going through a difficult phase. But the response was completely missing. The whole budget does not give encouragement to any of the key sectors," he said.
Jaitley said, "the budget has very little to offer to economy. It also offers very little to those sections which need to be helped through budget." He said that even in UPAs flagship programme MNREGA the actual expenditure has been substantially reduced even though the target of sanction has been retained. He termed as "merely procedural changes" the government's Direct Benefit Transfer scheme.
Jaitley also dismissed the Finance Minister's emphasis on Food Security Act saying that the so-called changes in it mean adding Rs 10,000 crore for a country of 1.2 billion people which means less than Rs 8 a month on each citizen.
"The budget does nothing for the manufacturing and agriculture sector. How does it push up growth or strengthen the falling Rupee remains a doubt," Jaitley said.
Swaraj said, "The finance minister has talked about three faces of women, youth and poor. He has treated his duty is over by giving a cosmetic women's bank. There is no talk about youth employment and there is nothing for the poor. The face of farmer is not at all visible in the finance minister's budget and even the aam admi which was the Congress plank is not visible in this budget."
BJP MP Venkaiah Naidu said "There was no big idea, no plans to boost economy in the budget. Nothing for infrastructure or agriculture or for that matter for business also."
Former Finance Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said Chidambaram has juggled with numbers and direct and indirect tax proposals put forth to add about Rs 18,000 crore revenue will further fuel price rise.
"It is a jugglery of numbers that Finance Minister P Chidambaram has done in his budget to show a reduced fiscal deficit for this year and the next year.... The additional tax proposals will add to the rising prices and will further hit the common man," said Sinha.
Taking a dig, he said Chidambaram has criticized his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee, who is now the President, and said "he deserves a better treatment." BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said, "It is not a Finance Minister's budget. It's an accountant's budget."
"No growth orientation reforms have taken place. Especially supply side constraints in agriculture where large amount of investment is required to get farmers access to market." CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said, "This is a lollypop election budget with minor additional investment and full of tokenism. Uproar is more but reality is different."
Terming it as an "election oriented exercise", CPI National Secretary D Raja said, "It has also not addressed the key question of revenue generation. It appears to be a technical jugglery and we will have to see what comes out of it in real terms." He said there is also nothing on the huge non-performing assets of banks or on black-money and there is no taxation of the super-rich and only a surcharge has been introduced.
JD-U leader Sharad Yadav said there is no relief to farmers, middle class and workers. "This budget has failed to address all the ills afflicting the country. No tax has been imposed on malls and hotels which consume diesel. Had this been done, famers would have got subsidy."
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, however, said that the prudent, productive and progressive budget would boost growth.
"The three P's of FM's budget - prudent, productive & progressive. It would boost growth and augment equity- UPA's guiding philosophy," the I&B minister tweeted.
Criticizing the budget, CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said "this budget is really promoting that particular factor of growth which has marked the UPA regimes, which is the growth determined by the interests of the corporates."
"It is a pro-corporate budget. It is a budget which once again is finding ways to give tax exemptions and also this budget shows manipulation of figures by Chidambaram in his presentation. If you look at the Revised Estimates, you will find there has been a huge cut in the expenditure, compared to what previous budget estimates are," she said.
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy termed the Union Budget as "insipid and counter productive".
In a statement, Swamy claimed the continued financing of fiscal deficit by market and captive bank loans was "inflationary" and will land the economy in a debt-trap crisis.
"The gross revenue estimate is based on an unrealistic GDP growth rate of 6.7 percent in constant prices and 13 percent in current prices. This is widely off the mark and hence the budget deficit will be higher and inflationary," he said.
Criticizing the budget, SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav said, "The budget has made foreign shoes cheaper and other things costlier. No class including the middle class, workers, farmers... no one will benefit from this budget."
On hike in MNREGA or mid-day meal schemes, Yadav said "it's a sheer wastage of money. This money could have been utilized in a more effective way for the uplift of poor."
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav termed the budget as "anti-poor" and "anti-farmer" and vowed to oppose it in Parliament. "This budget is only for 10 percent population of the country. What kind of budget is this which ignores 65 percent people who are engaged in farming," he said.
Bahujan Samaj Party
BSP leader Mayawati, whose party has extended support to the UPA, criticized the budget saying it was drafted to "confuse" the common man and there was nothing new in it. She said all the announcements seem lofty and "in the air". "There is nothing new in this budget and there nothing for farmers, employees and the middle class," she said, adding that the policies of the central government are not in the interest of the common man and are "anti-people".
New Delhi: The Opposition and some parties supporting the government on Thursday slammed the General Budget as "jugglery" of numbers and said it had forgotten the 'aam admi', who was already burdened by price rise, and had nothing to offer to the farmers.