The Opposition reacted sharply to the 2023-’24 Union Budget presented by Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman Wednesday, alleging that it increases inflation and unemployment. Accusing the government of ignoring “welfare schemes”, they said topics such as the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for farmers, employment and youth were ignored.
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“Delhiites have been meted out step-motherly treatment yet again. The people of Delhi paid Rs 1.75 lakh crore in income tax last year. Out of that, only Rs 325 crore has been given to Delhi for development work. This is completely unjustified,” Kejriwal said.
Jairam Ramesh, the Congress’s general secretary communications in-charge, compared last year’s budgetary allocations and delivery.
He added: “The reality is in front of everyone.The expenditure is very less as compared to the allocated amount. This is PM Modi’s OPUD strategy for headline management – over promise, under deliver.”
News agency PTI quoted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as calling the Budget “totally opportunistic” and “anti-people”. She also alleged that the Union Budget was prepared eyeing the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet the budget gave “nirasha(despair)” instead of “asha(hope)” to the people of the country.
Claiming that the budget further increases inflation and unemployment, Yadav said: “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? This budget is for the benefit of a few rich people.”
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said in a tweet: “For them, there is just talk. It is better if the budget is more for the country than for the party.”
She added, “Like earlier in the country, in the last nine years also the budgets of the central government kept on coming in which announcements, promises, claims and hopes were showered. They all became redundant when India’s middle class faced the problems of inflation, poverty and unemployment etc and were reduced to lower middle class.”
The BSP chief went on to say that the government’s policies has “the biggest impact on the lives of crores of poor farmers and other hardworking people who are connected to rural India.”
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti, in conversation with news agency ANI, said: “This Budget is the same that had been coming in for last 8-9 years. Taxes increased, money not being spent on welfare schemes and subsidies. Tax being collected for some crony capitalists & big businessmen. Public should benefit from taxes but it’s breaking their back.”
“Instead of benefiting them (common people), welfare schemes and subsidies are being scrapped. People who had risen above the poverty level have fallen below the poverty level again,” she added.
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Swarajya Party leader Yogendra Yadav noted that the Budget for education and health was slashed.
Talking to news agency ANI, Mainpuri MP Dimple Yadav said, “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, employment & youth. Railways were also ignored in this budget. It has been a disappointing budget.”
The BJP, however, said the Budget took into consideration all sections of the society.
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Union minister Rajnath Singh said it was is focused on growth and welfare with a priority to provide support to farmers, women, marginalised sections and the middle class, While Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis termed it Sarvajanahitai (welfare for all). Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said “it was a revolutionary budget that will give relief to every section of society”.
(With inputs from agencies)