Budget 2023-24 Gives 'Nirasha' Instead of 'Asha' to People of India: Akhilesh Yadav
Akhilesh Yadav. Image Courtesy: National Herald
New Delhi: As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the last full Union Budget of the BJP government before the 2024 general elections, what caught the eye most was her tax announcements, giving relief to the salaried class under the new tax regime. However, there were no big announcements for two crucial sectors, health and education, as well as steps to deal with the burning question of unemployment, rising inflation and falling farmer incomes.
Some Opposition leaders, however, were critical of the budget proposals.
In Lucknow, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the Union Budget for 2023-24 has given "nirasha" (despair) instead of "asha" (hope) to people of the country.
He also claimed that the budget further increases inflation and unemployment.
"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.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “Last year's Budget drew applause for allocation towards agriculture, health, education, MGNREGA & welfare of SCs. Today the reality is evident. Actual expenditure is substantially LOWER than budgeted. This is Modi’s OPUD strategy of headline management—Over Promise, Under Deliver.”
In Bolpur, terming the Union Budget "anti-people", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it would deprive the poor.
Addressing a government function at Bolpur in Birbhum district, she claimed that the changes in the income tax slabs will not help anyone.
"This Union Budget is not futuristic, totally opportunistic, anti-people and anti-poor. It will benefit only one class of people. This Budget will not help address the country's unemployment issue. It has been prepared with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections," she said.
"The changes in the income tax slabs will not help anyone. There is no ray of hope in this Budget -- it is a dark dark budget. Give me half an hour and I will show you how to prepare a Budget for the poor," Banerjee added.
In Kashmir, People’s Democratic Party leader and former Chief Minister Mehboob Mufti said: "Taxes have increased and money is not being spent on welfare schemes or subsidies. Taxes are being amassed for their crony capitalists. The taxes imposed should have benefited the people, but they have broken their backs.”
'Callous' Budget: P Chidambaram
New Delhi: Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday claimed that the Union Budget has "betrayed" the hopes of a vast majority of Indians and shows how far removed the government is from the people and their concerns about life, livelihood and the growing inequality between the rich and the poor.
At a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, the former finance minister termed the budget as "callous" and said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has not mentioned the words unemployment, poverty, inequality or equity anywhere in her Budget speech
"Let me begin by pointing out, with regret, that 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," Chidambaram said.
He stressed 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," Chidambaram said.
"Who has benefited by 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. Not the thinking Indians who are shocked by the growing inequality, the rise of the number of billionaires and the wealth being accumulated in the hands of the 1% of the population. Certainly, not you," he said.
"The government is also determined to push the 'new' tax regime for which there are few takers for a variety of reasons.
"Besides, making the new tax regime the default option is grossly unfair and will rob the ordinary tax payer of the meagre social security that he may get under the old tax regime," the Congress leader said.
This is a "callous" Budget that has betrayed the hopes of the vast majority of the people, he added.
Budget 2023-24 Will Immerse India in Debt: Manish Sisodia
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia called the Union Budget 2023-24 announced by the BJP-led Centre on Wednesday nothing but a 'jumla' and said it would only immerse the country in debt.
Sisodia, who is also the Finance minister of Delhi, said this budget will add a debt of Rs 15 lakh crore.
"We all know that the BJP has made terms like 'acche din' a jumla. The budget by BJP-led Centre is nothing but a jumla. We have heard many such jumlas in the past -- like introduction of bullet trains or the promise of doubling farmers' income or creating 60 lakh jobs," he said during a press conference.
Alleging that the budget will further immerse the country in debt, he said that till 2014, the Centre had a debt of Rs 53 lakh crore and during two successive terms of the BJP-led NDA government, the country came under a debt of Rs 150 lakh crore and "this budget will further immerse the country under additional Rs 15 lakh crore debt".
"You speak to any economist. This is a dangerous thing," he said.
The budget is disappointing for Delhiites, he said, adding that only Rs 325 crore was allocated for the national capital under the subhead of grant in lieu of taxes even though Delhi pays over 1.75 lakh crore income tax. The amount of Rs 325 crore has remained unchanged for the last 22 years, Sisodia claimed.
Budget not Relevant for People: BRS Leader K Kavitha
Hyderabad: Other than the increase in the income tax rebate limit from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh, there is nothing relevant for the people in the Union Budget, BRS leader K Kavitha said on Wednesday.
Pointing out that the budget failed to address the current situation wherein people are losing jobs, the BRS MLC said she was hoping that the Central government would come out with a comprehensive strategy on the issue.
Kavitha further said that though the budget mentioned about Rs 10 lakh crore investments earmarked for infrastructure, there is no clarity given to which infrastructure sector that the funds would be spent on.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter further said the budget also failed to give a roadmap as to how the country would become a developed nation in the next 25 years.
"Unfortunately, there are more than 800-900 schemes already announced in the last four years and they have no idea what has happened to them," she said.
According to her, the NDA government at the Centre announced several schemes during the last eight years and no state has received any benefit out of it.
"This is a budget to cover up the failures of the Modi government, but unfortunately numbers don't lie," she charged.
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