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Monday, March 08, 2021

‘Aimed at helping corporates directly and indirectly’: Kerala Oppn leaders slam budget

"It has given the impression of making some promises for the election-bound states. But it has no announcements for the people facing financial constraints due to the pandemic. There are no proposals to increase the incomes of people or update their skill-sets."

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi |
Updated: February 1, 2021 6:04:39 pm
budget, budget 2021, budget highlights, budget income tax, corona impact on economy, Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission, Indian economy, finance sectors, health sectors, Modi govt Flagship schemes, Arjun Ram Meghwal, express columnsFinance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds a case containing a tablet device, during the Budget Session of the Parliament in New Delhi.

Leaders of major political parties in Kerala, except the BJP, denounced the union budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Monday, saying it has no major proposals to solve the recession in the economy post-pandemic or to put money in the hands of the people.

“As always, this budget is aimed at helping corporates directly and indirectly,” Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala in a statement.

“It has given the impression of making some promises for the election-bound states. But it has no announcements for the people facing financial constraints due to the pandemic. There are no proposals to increase the incomes of people or update their skill-sets,” he said.

The finance minister said in her speech that the Centre would allocate Rs 65,000 crores for national highway projects in Kerala, including for that of the development of the Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor. The Centre will also allocate Rs 1957 crores for the phase-II of the Kochi Metro project from JLN Stadium to Kakkanad. Similar allocations were announced for West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu which go to polls along with Kerala later this year.

Chennithala said, “There are no proposals in the budget to rescue farmers cultivating cash-crops like rubber. The base price of rubber has not been hiked. A long-time demand for an AIIMS in Kerala has also not been fulfilled. No announcements either for railway development projects in Kerala.”

CPI Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Vishwam also hit out at the Centre on the question of free vaccination for all of India’s citizens.

“This budget, in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, has cheated the people of the country. The country was waiting for an announcement that the vaccine would be distributed freely to everyone. But there has only been a weak promise that a few crores of rupees would be allocated for (vaccination),” he said.

NK Premachandran, Kollam MP and senior leader of the RSP, told reporters, “It’s unfortunate that there are no major proposals for a rejuvenation package that would solve the recession in the business and trade sectors in the backdrop of the pandemic. This budget is only an extension of the mini-budgets that the finance minister announced in the last few months as part of the Athmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The 137% rise in the health allocation is also an extension of the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan. There is nothing new for the MSME sector or to boost employment among women. There are no creative solutions to solve unemployment among women, as expressed by the economic survey.”

PK Kunhalikutty, Malappuram MP and national general secretary of the IUML, alleged the Centre’s sole aim is to sell India’s public sectors to corporates.

“Privatisation is the hallmark of the budget. The nationwide agrarian protest is a response to the selling of the agriculture sector. It is a story of how agriculture is being sold to multi-national corporations…there’s a long line of achievements spelled out in the budget, but has anyone felt these achievements? Some poll-bound states have been given some temptations. A proposal for tea workers in Assam was announced, but Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which also have tea workers, have been forgotten. This is not a far-sighted budget,” he said in Delhi.

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