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Interim Budget: Modi Model of ‘Enrich the Rich, Squeeze the Poor’, Says CPI(M)

The Left party critiqued the government for further squeezing states, noting that loans given for capital expenditure were much lower than those given earlier in lieu of GST compensation.
CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat stated that when the communists criticise Israeli aggression, they might be branded as terrorists.

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New Delhi: The interim Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday carries forward the Narendra Modi government’s model of ‘Viksit Bharat’ that is “designed” to “enrich the rich and squeeze the poor”, said the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Commenting on the budget proposals, the CPI(M) in a statement tore into the “tall claims’ made at a time when the entire working population of the country was facing grim challenges.

While noting that the full budget will be presented in July by the new government, the Left party said the interim budget figures show that the government’s axe on cutting expenditure has fallen on social welfare schemes, which will impact future growth prospects.

“Though the revenue receipts in 2023-24 exceeded the budget estimates and grew by 13.3 per cent compared to the previous year, Central Government expenditures have been squeezed below budget estimates in order to reduce the fiscal deficit. These expenditures have grown by only 7 per cent, less than even the nominal growth of GDP, which is officially expected to be 8.9 per cent. This shortfall in expenditure has taken place despite the establishment expenditure of the Government being higher than budgeted. The axe has, therefore, fallen on expenditures on welfare schemes as well as on capital expenditure.”

The CPI(M) cited various welfare schemes for which allocations have been kept below the budgeted levels.

“Expenditures on several items like Agriculture & Allied Activities, Education, Health, Social Welfare, and schemes like the PM Krishi Sinchai Yojna and Umbrella Schemes for SCs, STs and other groups have been kept below budgeted levels. The revised expenditures on PM Awas Yojna, PM Gram Sadak Yojna, and PM Poshan are not only lower than budgeted, they are even less than the expenditures in 2022-23,” read the statement.

On state finances, the Left party noted that rural development expenditures and transfers to states had remained “virtually stagnant, implying a cut in real terms.”

“The states are further squeezed as the loans given for capital expenditures are of a much lower amount than the loans given earlier in lieu of GST compensation,” it said.

It said despite the poor growth, “the government has given the benefit of tilting the distribution of that slow growing income sharply in favour of big business, the rich and wealthy.”

“Revenues from corporate taxes and income taxes have jumped up significantly compared to the pre-Covid period, not because rates of taxation have gone up but because the share of the rich in total income has increased. This is the K-Shaped Recovery, the ‘development’ in which the working people are squeezed to accept less while working more,” it added.

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