New Delhi [India], February 2 (ANI): Opposition parties slammed the Union Budget 2023, the last full-fledged Budget of the Modi government in its second term, and said that the Budget offers no solution to address the rampant unemployment, rising inflation as well as the growing inequality between the rich and the poor.
As the country is scheduled to have Assembly polls in some states in 2023 as well as Lok Sabha elections in 2024, the Opposition did not miss the opportunity to termed the Budget as "anti-poor".
Even the Chief Ministers of non-BJP-ruled states said the Union Budget "ignored" their demands and failed to address the country's economic concerns.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it was a "dark budget" that offers no ray of hope and has been prepared with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Calling alled the budget "anti-poor" and not futuristic.
"It's an anti-poor budget and not futuristic. It is a total opportunistic budget. Amid skyrocketing inflation, what is the benefit of exempting income tax? There is no proposal for the unemployed people in the budget," said Banerjee.
Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said, "The Budget for 2023-24 and the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister show how far this government is removed from the people and their concerns about life, livelihood and the growing inequality between the rich and the poor."The Congress leader said that Finance Minister did not mention the unemployed at all or only mentioned the poor twice in her 90-minute budget speech.
"The FM has not mentioned the words unemployment, poverty, inequality or equity anywhere in her speech. Mercifully, she has mentioned the word poor twice in her speech. I am sure the people of India will take note of who are in the concerns of the government and who are not," said Chidambaram.
"Last year, the government estimated the GDP for 2021-22 at Rs 232,14,703 and, assuming a nominal growth rate of 11.1 per cent, projected the GDP for 2022-23 at Rs 258,00,000 crore. The GDP for 2021-22 has been since revised upward to Rs 236,64,637 crore. In today's Budget papers, the GDP for 2022-23 has been estimated at Rs 273,07,751 crore which yields a growth rate of 15.4 per cent, much above the earlier estimate. Given this impressive number, real GDP ought to have grown in double-digits. Yet the FM (and the Economic Survey) put the GDP growth at only 7 per cent this year (para 2). Will the government explain?" he questioned.
He further said, "Who has benefited from this Budget? Certainly, not the poor. Not the youth looking desperately for jobs. Not those who have been laid off. Not the bulk of the taxpayers. Not the homemaker."The Congress leader said that no taxes have been reduced except for the small number who have opted for the new tax regime.
"No indirect taxes have been reduced. There is no cut in the cruel and irrational GST rates. There is no reduction in the prices of petrol, diesel, cement, fertilizers etc. There is no cut in the numerous surcharges and cesses which are, anyway, not shared with the State governments," he added.
He claimed that the government is determined to push the 'new' tax regime for which there are few takers for a variety of reasons.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel called the Budget 2023 "nirmam" budget.
"This can be called Nirmala Sitharaman's 'nirmam' budget. There is nothing in this budget for youth, farmers, women, tribals or scheduled castes. It was made purely focusing on the upcoming elections. There is nothing for Chhattisgarh in the budget," said Baghel.
He further questioned the amount allocated to the Railways and said, "Around Rs 2,35,000 crore have been allotted to Railways. Is this for the employees or for new recruitments or is it just for the modernisation of Railways before selling it to private companies?"Congress general secretary KC Venugopal slammed the Centre for not addressing the real issues in Union Budget 2023-24 including unemployment and price rise adding that the budget "only had fancy announcements that were made earlier too.""This budget is not addressing the real sentiment of the country that is unemployment and price rise. It only had fancy announcements that were made earlier too but what about implementation? Only insurance companies were benefited from PM Kisan Yojana, not farmers," he added.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Budget 2023 was prepared keeping an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections adding that it has nothing to offer for the poor people of the country.
He further said that the ruling government has failed to control inflation and the budget is not for common people.
"The budget was presented by the Modi government keeping in view the upcoming Assembly polls in three-four states. This was an election speech and they had prepared that 15 days ago. There is nothing in the budget for poor people and to control inflation. No steps for jobs, to fill government vacancies and MNREGA," said Kharge on Union Budget 2023.
Lambasting the BJP at the Centre for not presenting any vision to create jobs, Kharge said that the government failed to fill vacancies at existing government offices.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Shatrughan Sinha took a dig at Centre, saying that the budget had a major focus on 'Hum Do Hamare do'.
Sinha said that this budget had nothing for middle-class people.
"The budget was presented keeping in mind the upcoming LoK Sabha polls. Congress leader K Suresh said Budget 2023 is a pro-corporate budget. All interests of Adani are fulfilled in this budget, but the common man has been ignored. This budget is for Adani, Ambani, Gujarat," the TMC MP said.
Alleging that all "genuine" demands of Punjab have been "blatantly ignored" in the Union budget, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said state demanded Rs 1000 crore for BSF's upgradation, modernisation, anti-drone system as a border state, but nothing has been talked about in the budget.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said that being a border state, they had demanded Rs 1,000 crore for the modernisation of the BSF and state police from Centre, which was necessary to combat the smuggling of drugs and weapons from across the border especially through the hi-tech drones.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reduced fertilizer subsidy by Rs 50,000 crores in the Union Budget 2023-24, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah reducing the fertilizer subsidy means that farmers' expenses will be increased"Budget is anti-poor and anti-farmer. Fund allocation for NREGA is reduced by Rs 29,000 crores which means additional employment will not be generated. Fertiliser subsidy reduced by Rs 50,000 crores that means farmers' expenses will be increased," said Siddaramaiah.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that reducing the health budget from 2.2 per cent to 1.98 per cent is harmful.
"There is no relief from inflation in this budget. On the contrary, this budget will increase inflation. There is no concrete plan to remove unemployment. Unfortunate to reduce the education budget from 2.64 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Reducing the health budget from 2.2 per cent to 1.98 per cent is harmful," he said.
"Step-motherly treatment again with the people of Delhi. The people of Delhi paid more than Rs 1.75 lakh crore income tax last year. Out of that only Rs 325 crore was given for the development of Delhi. This is a gross injustice to the people of Delhi," Kejriwal said in a series of tweets in Hindi.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the budget for 2023-24 has given "nirasha" (despair) instead of "asha" (hope) to people of the country.
"The BJP is completing a decade of its budgets, but when it did not give anything to the public earlier, what will it give now?" Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
"The BJP's budget further increases inflation and unemployment. It does not give 'asha' but 'nirasha' to farmers, labourers, youth, women, professionals and the business class. This budget is for the benefit of a few rich people," he added.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that this is just a ceremonial budget.
"There should have been more schemes, there should have been schemes related to unemployment, MNREGA. If the government wanted, it would have given a special grant as Himachal Pradesh has a debt of 75,000 crores," he added.
Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader Kavitha Kalvakuntla said that the Centre announced development projects in either poll-bound states or BJP-governed states.
"They announced Rs 10,000 crore for infrastructure, which infrastructure? They are not clear. They owe us Rs 1000 crore and I request Finance Minister to pay our dues," she said.
"This budget mathematical confirmation of the failure of Modi govt. This seems like a budget for few states. We hoped tax rebate of up to Rs 10 Lakhs. In Telangana, we pay good salaries to people so this rebate is of no use to us," the BRS leader added.
Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav said that the budget has been presented keeping the elections in mind, while some relaxations given to the middle class"It's a Budget presented keeping the elections in mind, while some relaxations given to the middle class. The government hasn't said anything about MSP for farmers, employmentyouth. Railways also ignored in this budget. It has been a disappointing budget," said Dimple Yadav.
People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said that this Budget is the same that had been coming in for last eight-nine years adding that taxes have been increased, money not being spent on welfare schemes and subsidies.
"Tax being collected for some crony capitalists and big businessmen. Public should benefit from taxes but it's breaking their back. Instead of benefitting common people, welfare schemes and subsidies are being scrapped. People who had risen above the poverty level have fallen below the poverty level again," said the PDP chief.
Congress leader K Suresh said that this budget is for Adani, Ambani and Gujarat.
"Budget2023 is a pro-corporate budget. All interests of Adani are fulfilled in this budget, but the common man has been ignored. This budget is for Adani, Ambani, Gujarat," he said.
Rajiv Ranjan, JD(U) MP said that there is nothing in Budget 2023 adding that it is like 'Sapno Ka Saudagar' - nothing comes true when you wake up after a dream.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that there are some good things in UnionBudget2023 but there was no mention of MNREGA, poor rural labour, employment and inflation adding that some fundamental questions remained to be answered.
"I am a believer in a low tax regime. So, any tax cuts are welcome because giving more money into the hands of the people is the best way to boost the economy," said Congress MP Karti Chidambaram.
Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati took a veiled jibe at the Centre for its Union Budget presented in the Parliament and said that it should be for the country instead of being for a party.
"Whenever the Centre talks about the beneficiaries of a scheme, it must remember that India is a vast country of about 130 crore poor peoples, labourers, deprived citizens, farmers etc. who are yearning for their Amrit Kaal. It is better if the budget is more for the country than for a party," BSP chief Mayawati said in a series of tweets.
Mayawati said that the presented budget has been very much similar to the ones presented in the last nine years with huge promises and announcements being showered on the common citizens.
"This year's budget is not much different. No government tells its shortcomings of the last year but line the people up with new promises. People live on hopes, but why give false hopes?" she added.
She further said that the narrow policies of the government have the biggest side effects on the lives of the people connected to rural India.
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said the budget has no solution to price-rise, inflation and unemployment.
"Poor got just words and rhetoric. Budget benefits only the big industrialists. Tax rebate up to Rs 7 Lakhs is insignificant considering the inflation and price-rise, it's like drop in ocean for the middle class," he addd.
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders of Rajasthan have given a mixed reaction to the 2.0 Modi government's Union Budget.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched an attack on the Union Budget and said that the budget is 'a great disappointment for Rajasthan.'Taking to social media, Gehlot wrote, "If we talk about the Union budget in the context of Rajasthan, then this budget has been a great disappointment for the state."Stating that people are in a distressed mood in the state, he said, "People of the state are disappointed because the central government did not accept our demands of giving national status to ERCP, an important project related to the development of Rajasthan state."In the Gehlot government, Cabinet Minister Pratap Singh Khachariawas termed the central budget as 'zero'.
Cabinet Minister Khachariawas said, "This budget of the Central Government has dashed the people's expectations. Neither subsidy has been given on gas cylinders in the budget, nor did the public get freedom from the increased prices of petrol and diesel."Describing the budget as an illusion of figures, he said that the public would not get anything from this budget.
While Rajasthan Bharatiya Janata Party state president Dr Satish Poonia has described the budget as an 'all-inclusive budget'. Poonia said that the expectations of the middle class and deprived sections would be fulfilled from this budget.
"Every category has got something or the other in the budget," he added.
On the allegations levelled by Congress leader Pratap Singh Khachariawas, Poonia said that Congress only thinks of the state while the Prime Minister thinks of the whole country.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023 today in Lok Sabha. This was the third time in a row that the government presented the budget in a paperless form.
Highlights of the budget presented by the Union Finance Minister included big incentives under the new income tax regime. The IT rebate limit in the new regime has been increased fromRs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh and the new tax regime will be the default tax regime, the Finance Minister said.
Capital expenditure outlay has been increased by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore, accounting for 3.3 per cent of the GDP. (ANI)