NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah have lauded the maiden budget of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, which was presented in Parliament on Friday.
Modi described the budget as citizen-friendly, development-friendly and future-oriented, and one which will empower the poor and provide a better future to the youth. Terming the budget a “green budget”, he said it focuses on the environment and pitches for green and clean energy.
In a televised address after the budget was tabled in Parliament, Modi said the policies of the government will empower the downtrodden and turn them into a “powerhouse” for the development of the country. Modi said the budget underlines structural reforms in the agricultural sector and has a roadmap to transform the farm sector and double farmers’ income.
Praising the Union budget as futuristic, BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday said it reflects Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision where farmers prosper, the poor lead a life of dignity, the middle class gets its due and Indian enterprise a boost.
Shah said the budget highlights the “exemplary” work done in key sectors relating to the economy, housing, infrastructure and the social sectors over the last five years. It ignites a spirit of hope that India can become a $5 trillion economy in the coming years, he said.
“The budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is a futuristic one. It provides a coherent roadmap for sectors that will drive growth and innovation among our citizens. The emphasis on clean energy and cashless transactions are also steps in the right direction,” Shah said in a series of tweets.
“The budget for new India clearly reflects PM Narendra Modi’s vision for India’s development, where the farmers prosper, poor lead a life of dignity, the middle class get the due for their hard work and Indian enterprise gets a boost. This is truly a budget of hope and empowerment,” he said.
Old Wine In New Bottle: Congress
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, on Friday said there was nothing new in the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and added that it was a repackaging of the old promises made by the BJP.
“Nothing new, repetition of old promises. They are talking about new India but the budget is the same old wine in a new bottle. Nothing new, no plan for employment generation, no new initiatives. They are trying to project India as an El Dorado for all but in reality, all of us are experiencing the pain of lack of employment generation, economy and more issues,” Chowdhury told reporters here.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he too was not particularly happy with the Budget presented by Sitharaman as it would lead to an increase in the price of petrol and added he was not sure whether the Center will match the numbers put forward during the economic survey with the real numbers.
“We are already paying the highest petrol rates in the world and they now want us to pay 2 rupees for every litre. This will affect the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) as prices of all items of consumption will become expensive with the rise in prices of petrol,” he said
“The GDP has not been mentioned at all, we don’t have any real idea if they will match the figures given in the economic survey, last year’s figures were not matched this year. I am not optimistic the figures will be matched. There is a gap between rhetoric and reality with this government,” Tharoor added.
Member of Rajya Sabha and Congress leader Ahmed Patel took to Twitter to express his disappointment with the Budget.
“It was manifesto rather than a Union Budget,” Patel tweeted.
In successive tweets, the leader from Gujarat targeted the Center for giving bailout packages to bail defaulters while farmers facing a severe crisis got “zero assistance and zero recognition”
“Rs 70,000 cr to bail out bank defaulters but Zero assistance and Zero recognition for farmers facing a severe agri crisis ?” his second tweet read.
He also took a jibe at the new television channel proposed to help startups in the country by saying, “DD Kisan never helped farmers, it was playing movies. Now we have a DD Startup.”
Speaking about the ‘Gandhipedia’, which, according to Sitharaman is being developed to sensitise the youth about positive Gandhian values he said, “More than Gandhipedia we need Gandhian policies that will ensure the defeat of the ideology of his assassins,” he tweeted.
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala too slammed the budget through his tweets.
“An utterly lackluster, nondescript, uninspiring & directionless Budget 2019. Zero on Economic Revival. Zero on Rural Growth. Zero on Job Creation. Zero on Urban Rejuvenation. Can mundane jugglery of ‘acronyms’ pass off for vision for a ‘New India’?” Surjewala tweeted.
Another tweet by Surjewala said the GDP projections had been exaggerated, “GDP projections are overstated! Budget Estimates project GDP at 8% EcoSurvery2019 projects GDP at 7% Actual GDP last Qtr of FY19 is 6.8% Perception V/S Reality!”
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said this budget was disappointing as it provided no reliefs to the middle class and had no provisions for employment generation in the country.
“The middle class has received no relief in this Budget, nothing is clear on how employment will be provided to the youth of the country. They are also planning to bring Railways under the Public-private partnership (PPT) model, the railways are the biggest source of employment in the country, taking it to the private sector will lead to jobs getting snatched,” Baghel said.
He also expressed disappointment at the fact that nothing had been provided in the budget for the Naxal-affected areas of Chhattisgarh.
It Serves Interests Of Corporate, Foreign Capitalists: CPI (M)
The Communist Party of India (CPI) Friday alleged that the Union Budget is based on mere rhetoric and “serves the interests of corporates and foreign capitalists” instead of the common people.
CPI National Secretary D Raja claimed the government has cut expenditure on the welfare of women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and does not mention how to take the country’s economy to USD 5 trillion.
“In the name of ease of doing business, it has made a commitment to serve the interests of corporates and foreign capitalists,” he said.
Raja alleged, “The Union Budget should be on the economic realities of the country and not on rhetoric. This budget tends to not address major challenges — the crisis in the industrial sector — and depends upon foreign portfolio investments and domestic investors.”
The CPI leader claimed that massive disinvestment of public sector undertakings to general revenue expenditure and cess on petrol and diesel will increase inflation and will have a cascading effect on overall prices.
“Expenditure on women welfare has fallen from 5.1 percent to 4.9 percent and spending on the welfare of SCs/STs is not substantial. Also, there is a fall in budgetary allocation for flagship programs like MNREGA,” Raja said.