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Political leaders', parties' reactions to Budget

Political parties across the country were quick to react to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's Budget presentation on Thursday.

From terming it a "Budget for progressive and positive India” to calling it as "slap in the face of traders and women" here are some of the statements made by political leaders and parties after the Budget was tabled in Parliament:.

 

Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweets "4 years gone; still promising FARMERS a fair price. 4 years gone; FANCY SCHEMES, with NO matching budgets. 4 years gone; no JOBS for our YOUTH. Thankfully, only 1 more year to go."

 

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi  hailed a “record” hike in budgetary allocation to the minority affairs ministry and said the funds will be used for the empowerment of the minority communities “with dignity“.

The Minority Affairs Minister said the budgetary allocation to his ministry has been increased from Rs 4,197 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 4,700, which is a raise of Rs 505 crore.

“The record increase in the ministry’s budget,” he said, “will definitely help attain socio-economic and educational empowerment of minorities, ensure their development with dignity.”

 

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar hailed the Budget as pro-poor and pro-farmer. In a statement, he said the Budget was reflective of the pro-poor and pro-farmer policies of the NDA government and would prove to be a major milestone in realising Prime Minister Narender Modi’s vision of doubling the income of farmers. The decision to raise the minimum support price (MSP) of all crops to at least 1.5 times the production cost would incentivise farming operations and improve the economic lot of the farmers.

 

The Left parties called the Budget a “big jumla” (rhetoric) of the government, which has elections on its mind. “This Budget, being the last one for this government, clearly shows it is announcing the schemes keeping in mind the coming Lok Sabha polls.  “It is a campaign for them. We consider it as a ‘big jumla’ We think it is an election campaign as talks are going on for early elections,” CPI(M) Lok Sabha leader Mohd Salim told reporters.

CPI leader D Raja said it showed the “desperate attempts of the government to hoodwink the people” in 2018, in which several State polls will take place and “probably the Lok Sabha polls too".  “It is not a growth-oriented budget. There is no certain attempts for employment generation. The government has talked about doubling the farmers' income, but for that the agricultural growth should increase up to 12 per cent. That is not there,” he said. Read more

 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said, "Budget is addressing the critical issues effectively and the Union Finance Minister has put his best efforts to present a balanced and growth oriented budget".

 

The Rashtriya Janata Dal alleged that there was “nothing” for Bihar in the Budget and squarely blamed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the alleged “step-motherly treatment” meted out by the Centre. “The budget contained nothing for Bihar. The state got nothing despite promises of a special package and a special status. Nitish Kumar should tell us whether this is the double engine for him. It is because of him that the Centre is meting out stepmotherly treatment to Bihar”, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said in a tweet. The criticism of Mr, Kumar by Mr. Yadav, who is lthe Lader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, came against the backdrop of the latter having last year walked out of the Grand Alliance and rejoined the BJP-led NDA claiming that the decision was taken in the interests of Bihar.

 

Former Union Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said "This is the last full Budget of this government and I should add,"Thank God for that." Mr. Chidambaram added "this is a defeatist budget and seems like the government has thrown in the towel. They have run out of ideas, run out of gas."

 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar lauded the Union Budget, saying it contained appreciable initiatives for the agriculture and health sectors. “I could not listen to the entire budget speech of [Finance Minister] Arun Jaitley, but heard the parts relating to agriculture, health and education. The Finance Minister deserves applause on these counts,” he told reporters. The JD(U) chief lauded Mr. Jaitley’s announcement that the MSP for Kharif crops would be calculated by adding 50 per cent to the production cost and that a similar formula would be adopted for the other crops.

 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the Budget would provide a boost to the farmers’ income. Mr. Chouhan, in a tweet, said, “Agriculture is the lifeline of our country. I welcome government decision to provide 1.5 times of cost as minimum support price (MSP) for Rabi crops. This step will provide a boost to farmer incomes.” He said the cluster farming would help small and marginal farmers. “Specialised agri processing will help us to utilise well our surplus production and improve realisations for farmers. This budget will also boost organic farming,” he said in another tweet.

 

Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien said, ''Super-flop show, big bluff show; no mechanism to implement announcements. It is clear that all sections are displeased, disappointed, angry: the unemployed, the farmers, the you8th, SC/SC, majority and minority. People have lost theri trust in this government. People have lost their faith. Aftger today's Budget, their credibility is now zero. Bengal gives free treatment and medicines. Out schemes on health, education and the emancipation of girls have already been implemented. Bengal have already doubled farmer income in 5 years. Now GOI are again talking about doubling farmer income. Will agriculture grow at 12 per cent per annum? They are again bluffing.'' 

 

BJP chief Amit Shah said the Budget gave new wings to aspirations of the poor as he cited measures aimed at giving a boost to farmers, infrastructure, rural sector and small and medium enterprises. Mr. Shah posted a number of tweets. This is the last full-fledged budget of the BJP-led NDA government before the next Lok Sabha polls, scheduled for 2019, and the ruling alliance hopes that its emphasis on rural sector will help it connect with masses as elections approach.Read more

 

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the Budget a “budget for progressive and positive India”. He said it would help bridge the gap between the rural and urban India. It would also boost the economic growth and public investment, as massive allocations have been made in the infrastructure sector. “It is indeed a budget for a progressive and positive India. This budget envisions a paradigm shift in economic priorities and it will help in bridging the gap between between the rural and urban areas of our country,” he told reporters.

 

Keeping in mind the Lok Sabha polls due next year, the Centre has presented an “election budget” and it had to take “desperate measures” following criticism over the GST, note ban and the Gujarat polls results, Shiv Sena leaders said on Thursday. “This is a budget for the election. Hence, the focus has been shifted from industries to farmers, healthcare and education,” Sena MP Arvind Sawanttold PTI.

 

Manish Sisodia, Delhi Deputy CM, member of AAP said: ''Disappointing Budget 2018. Not a single extra rupee increased in Delhi’s share in Central taxes since 2001-02, stays at Rs 325 Cr. No other part of India gets such treatment. BJP govt at Center continues to treat Delhi residents as second-grade citizens.''

 

Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister, New Delhi, tweeted, "I had expected some financial assistance to important infrastructure projects for national capital. Am disappointed that Centre continues its step-motherly treatment to Delhi"

 

Calling it a deception, Mayawati, Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief, said the Budget was anti-poor and pro-industrialists just like previous years of Modi rule. "Instead of getting into lofty promises and jumlebaazi, Mr. Modi must explain with facts and reason where are the "acche din" promised by him to the people during elections."

 

CPI(M) tweeted: "Modi Govt's final full budget reflects its commitment to serving the rich & Corporate Sector by reducing their taxes at the cost of cutting funding for welfare of the common working people. What the budget & Finance Minster's speech show, much like the rhetoric around demonetisation , is the inclination of the current Govt to make a direct assault on common people & then claim it to be for their good. Despite cutting capital expenditures & spending on social schemes in 2017-18 below budgeted figures, Govt unable to meet fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of GDP. Even the deficit of 3.5% of GDP has been achieved in the Revised Estimates by assuming that income tax revenues by the end of the current year matches the original Budget Estimates."

 

Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra Chief Minister, hailed the Budget as historic. “With an aim to put more money in farmers’ pockets, the Centre has decided to increase the minimum support price [MSP] of all crops by at least 1.5 times of the production cost.” He also welcomed the target of Rs 3 lakh crore for loan disbursement under the Mudra scheme in the next fiscal.

 

Former Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju said: “Need to look at the details but surely this vast outlay could have been used to strengthen the public health system and improve government medical and nursing colleges? Employ more people, pay better salaries? Why transfer funds to private hospitals?”

 

Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party president, said, "There is disappointment among the poor, the farmers and labourers. The unemployed youths are despondent.  And it is a slap on the face of traders, women, service class and the common people. This is a destructive budget by an egostical government known to neglect the problems of the people. Even in its final budget the BJP showed that it only champions the cause of the rich. The people will give it a fitting reply."