Union Budget a Missed Opportunity to Launch Attack on Poverty, Unemployment, Says Opp
New Delhi: The Opposition on Thursday labelled the Union Budget a missed opportunity to launch a frontal attack on poverty and unemployment in the country.
Resuming the discussion on the Budget in Lok Sabha, YSRCP member Margani Bharat Ram said the budget made no special provisions for Andhra Pradesh, which was bifurcated "like a birthday cake" by the previous Congress-led UPA government.
The YSRCP leader said injustice was meted out to Andhra Pradesh, which lost 13 years due to the separate Telangana movement and the allocation of assets created over decades to the new state, including the city of Hyderabad.
Bharat Ram demanded that the Centre should grant special status to Andhra Pradesh, as promised by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament when the AP Reorganisation Bill was passed in 2014.
He said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has missed the opportunity to rein in the rising prices of cooking gas. "The government missed an opportunity for an electoral gamble," the YSRCP leader added.
Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy said the Union Budget was anti-farmer, anti-poor and anti-rural.
Lashing out at the finance minister for slashing the Budget for the MGNREGA and the reduction in food and fertiliser subsidies, Roy said, "The Budget has exposed the farmers to the vagaries of the global markets and rendered the economy of agriculture even more fragile."
The Trinamool leader also demanded an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) into the allegations of round-tripping against Adani Group made in a report by the US-based short-seller Hindenburg Research.
He said the fall in the stock prices of the corporate group caused huge losses to investors and needed to be investigated.
"You send the Enforcement Directorate after every Opposition leader but not this company," Roy claimed.
He also said that the Union finance minister could have reduced the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas but did not do so as she had to "beautifully balance the Budget".
The finance minister has failed to address the problem of unemployment in the Budget and is leading the country to a "jobless future", Roy alleged.
BSP's Sangeeta Azad described the 2023-24 Budget as "Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne (daydreaming)" and claimed it only shows dreams to people, without amounting to much on the ground.
"They are dishonest. Under them, the middle class as become lower class. The middle class has become unemployed. This Budget is like 'Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne'," said Azad.
JD(U) leader Mahabali Singh said while Budgets have come and gone, the plight of the people has not changed. He demanded a special status for his home state Bihar, saying it has been denied a special package for years.
Despite the people of Bihar showing their faith in the BJP, the saffron party has not come through for the state, he added.
"People of Bihar had put all their hopes in the Budget and had kept a keen eye out for an announcement of a special package for the state and a special status. But nothing has come. What have you given Bihar," Singh asked as BJP MPs protested.
He referred to railway lines pending for decades and rail factories yet to see the light of day.
"Can India progress without Bihar progressing? While India celebrates Amritkaal, a big part of the country is surviving after drinking the poison of insults," the JD(U) leader said.
Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD demanded a special status for Odisha for three years for the state to tide over the natural calamities it has faced.
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