No big idea, Budget a wasted opportunity: Congress

PM Modi spent first two years mocking MGNREGA. Now mere rhetoric will fool neither farmers nor the poor: Rahul

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:March 1, 2016 4:02 am
Rahul Gandhi with party MP Kamal Nath at Parliament house on Monday. (Express Photo: Ravi Kanojia) Rahul Gandhi with party MP Kamal Nath at Parliament house on Monday. (Express Photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said Monday that the NDA government’s budget lacked “both vision and conviction”. Former finance minister P Chidambaram termed it a “wasted opportunity” and argued that it neither has any “big idea” nor does it signal an intent to undertake reforms. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too argued that the budget lacked a “big idea”.

“Modiji spent the first two years mocking the Congress Party’s focus on farmers, MGNREGA, rural development and social spending. Now mere rhetoric, without vision or action, will fool neither farmers nor the poor of this country. Budget 2016 lacks both vision and conviction. A list of new promises without any account of the failure of tall promises made in last 2 budgets,” said Rahul.

Full text: Altogether, the budget has been a wasted opportunity, says Chidambaram

Chidambaram said no attention was paid to three areas crying for attention — rural economy, private investments and exports.

Watch: The Big Picture Of Arun Jaitley’s Budget 2016

“The PM had promised that he would “reform to transform”. The word reform is a little understood but much used word. Reform means reform of factor markets or product markets. There is little evidence of such reform in the budget. So, the NDA has followed its own brand of budget making, which is just housekeeping and accounting. Thanks to the crash in oil prices, that required hardly any effort,” Chidambaram said.

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Refraining from rating the budget, he said one should look at it sectorally. “Who is happy? Is the tax payer happy? I doubt it. Is the homemaker happy? I doubt it. Is the middle class happy? I seriously doubt it. Are the markets happy…they have said thumbs down….my overall impression is that with 282 members in Lok Sabha…they should have attempted bold structural reforms…I have to conclude regrettably that it is a wasted opportunity.”

He said although he was happy that the government has achieved the fiscal deficit target and has stuck to its fiscal consolidation path, it is disheartening that it had turned its back on rural India, agriculture sector, and social sector programmes. He said funds allocated for general education, medical and public health, housing, social security and welfare and irrigation sectors were not fully spent.

Both Chidambaram and Singh argued that the government’s plan to double farmers’ income in the next five years was an impossible dream.

“There is no big idea except one, which was yesterday mentioned by the PM himself that the government plans to double the farmers’ income in next five years…I think that is an impossible dream and there is no inclination or no way of telling the country how it will be achieved because it implies a 14 per cent increase in foreign income for each of the five years,” Singh said.

Chidambaram agreed. “Farm income will increase in five years only if you address issues of price and productivity. This budget is silent on both. Manmohan is right. It is very unlikely farm income will double in five years.”

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  1. M
    MyTake
    Mar 1, 2016 at 12:17 am
    Everybody is happy except the thieves of the century.
    Reply
    1. M
      MyTake
      Mar 1, 2016 at 12:15 am
      Thieves are shouting!
      Reply
      1. A
        ambrish
        Mar 5, 2016 at 10:41 pm
        CONGRESS WASTED 60 YEARS OF THE NATION WITH THEIR BRILLIANT BUDGET WHERE THEY RIPPED OF RICH, MIDDLE CL, POOR AND FARMERS. WHAT IS THE NET OUT COME ? MORE UNEMPLOYMENT, MORE POVERTY AND HUNGER, MORE DIVISION AMONG COMMUNITIES, MORE CORRUPTION, RAPES AND SUICIDES. NOW BLAMING 2 YEAR OLD NDA GOVERNMENT FOR THEIR MISDEEDS.
        Reply
        1. D
          deb
          Mar 1, 2016 at 6:48 am
          Yes…Scope / provision for LOOTING is not there.
          Reply
          1. D
            Deeply Concerned
            Mar 2, 2016 at 3:49 pm
            Just for the sake of votes Modi lied about this scheme and now his FM has allocated the highest ever amount for this scheme. What more evidence do Indian youth need about feku, his lies and his inabilities? Mive allocation and mive mandate for Congress. THE FACT is Even horrendous liars can't hide or cover up the truth. This is the TRUE - SATYAMEV JAYATE
            Reply
            1. D
              Deeply Concerned
              Mar 1, 2016 at 1:10 am
              How dies Modi end slapping himself and still putting up a bold face eg., MNREGA and now they are not able to show evidence against JNU students in the court of law
              Reply
              1. N
                NArayan
                Mar 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm
                rg still thinking what to tweet....
                Reply
                1. H
                  HK B
                  Mar 1, 2016 at 6:27 am
                  With this budget the count down for the fall starts. The economy will touch rock bottom due to increase in various taxes and additional taxes on life time PF savings of already highly taxed ried cl. Now ried cl will tend to save more leading to less expenses resulting in lower consumption of goods and services. Of course Inflation will come down leading to lower interest rates. But even with lower interest rates entrepreneurs will be reluctant to take risk as overall economy will be on down trend.
                  Reply
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