Chidambaram critical of Budget ’18, terms it ‘worst’

New Delhi, January 01 (ANI): Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday rebuffed the Union Budget 2018-2019, saying that it was the “worst budget”.

In a statement, Chidambaram listed out certain sectors, including exports, agriculture, healthcare, jobs, investment and tax relief, and recounted the failures of the government to bring improvement in all of them.

Noting that the Centre did not take any measure to boost exports, he said, “The government has run out of ideas to boost exports. The Finance Minister has imposed additional customs duties to restrict imports. The Prime Minister’s speech at – and the spirit of – Davos has been forgotten within a few days”.

Training guns at the Centre for overlooking agriculture sector in the budget, he said that the agrarian crisis would continue.

“There is nothing to indicate that farmers’ real income will rise. Farm sector distress will continue and deepen, putting in peril the lives of a majority of the people primarily dependent on agriculture”, he added.

Chidambaram also called the health scheme proposed by the government a “big jumla”.

He went on to target the Centre over job generation and said, “The Finance Minister has no new ideas and has fallen back on the tried and failed Mudra scheme. The average size of the Mudra loan is Rs 43,000. This is tokenism and will not create even one job. More Mudra loans will mean more tokenism, but no additional jobs”.

The Congress leader further said that it seemed Jaitley “gave up” on the private investment as there was nothing in the budget to boost it.

Pointing out that there was no tax relief to the average tax-payers, Chidambaram said, “Only corporates with income up to Rs 250 crore get a tax relief of 5 percent”.

He further said that the most disappointing part of the Budget was the cut in the outlays on major schemes for 2018-19.

“Some important schemes that will get constant or reduced outlays are: MGNREGA, PMAY, National Drinking Water Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, National Health Mission, Midday Meals Scheme, Interest Subsidy for Short-Term Farm Credit, Northeastern Investment Promotion, Price Stabilisation Fund and Gram Jyoti Yojana”, he added.

Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the General Budget 2018-19 in the Parliament.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Budget was development-friendly and focused not only on the ease of doing business, but also on the ease of living for the common man. (ANI)

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