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Saffron states praise 'pro-people' budget, others say it lacks vision

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said the "positive" budget is in the interest of the common man and farmers, while Thackeray and Kejriwal alleged the budget gives "step-motherly" treatment to Maharashtra and Delhi

twitter-logoPTI | February 2, 2020 | Updated 14:01 IST
Saffron states praise 'pro-people' budget, others say it lacks vision
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget 2020 in Parliament on Feb 1st, 2020

BJP-ruled states hailed the Union Budget as focussed on boosting development, creating jobs and taking every section of the society along, but those governed by the opposition parties expressed disappointment saying it lacked the vision to revive the economy.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and their counterparts from Karnataka and Goa B S Yediyurappa and Pramod Sawant said the budget will help generate jobs, boost rural economy and create infrastructure for growth.

Bihar Chief Minister and BJP ally Nitish Kumar said the "positive" budget is in the interest of the common man and farmers. He said the middle-class will benefit from the changes in income-tax slabs and the construction of solar grids on open and barren lands will be beneficial to farmers.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik offered a mixed reaction. While he welcomed proposals like Krishi Rail and Krishi Udan and FDI in education, he rued non-inclusion of any archaeological sites from the state in the "iconic sites" to be developed by the Centre.

He also said almost all allocations under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes have been stagnant while the divisible pool of Central Taxes has shrunk by almost Rs 59,000 crore.

This will reduce Odisha's share by Rs 3,000 crore, Patnaik said.

Among the most vocal critics of the budget were West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and their Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh counterparts Uddhav Thackeray and Kamal Nath.

Not impressed by the proposals, Banerjee slammed the central government's proposal to sell a part of its shares in LIC, describing it as a plan to "ambush" the legacy of public institutions.

Thackeray and Kejriwal alleged the budget gives "step-motherly" treatment to Maharashtra and Delhi. Madhya Pradesh CM Nath termed the budget "disappointing" and a "labyrinth of data", saying it lacked a plan to deal with the economic slowdown and the inflation.

"When Delhi doesn't figure in the BJP's priorities, why should people vote for it?" he said on Twitter in Hindi. "Delhi had high expectations from the Budget, but step-motherly treatment has been meted out to it again," Kejriwal said.

His deputy and Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia too criticised the budget as the "biggest injustice" to the people of the national capital.

At a press conference, he pointed out that the Centre has allotted Rs 325 crore to the Delhi government as central taxes share, which is the same since 2001. He alleged Delhiites give Rs 1.5 lakh crore as taxes to the Centre annually, but it doesn't give anything to the Delhi government.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the economy was not a priority for the government, trashing the budget as "high on pomposity and low on tangibles". He said the BJP-led Central government, which was too busy pursuing its "negative and divisive agenda".

Singh particularly highlighted that the "16-point action plan for agriculture" makes no mention of any initiatives or schemes to encourage crop diversification, and a failure to diversify would further aggravate the problems for the country on the agriculture front.

Terming the budget "a jugglery of words", Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said there was no focus on providing relief to people or industries. "Budget speech lacked any substance to solve present economic crisis. It was simply jugglery of words without any focus on providing relief to common people or to industries," Gehlot tweeted.

The Rajasthan BJP countered Gehlot's charge, saying the budget was "balanced and inclusive" and Finance Minister Sitharaman appropriately focussed on all sections.

"Changes in income-tax slab is a big relief to middle-class. Every section has been focused. Budget provisions for the welfare of all sections and sectors including education, health, infrastructure development, tribals, senior citizens have been made," BJP state president Satish Poonia said.

Industry bodies in Rajasthan gave a mixed reaction to the budget.

Federation of Rajasthan Trade and Industry chairman Suresh Agrawal said looking at the present economic situation, businesses and industries had big expectations from the budget.

"The budget should have been more focused on business and industries. Exporters, textile and automobile industries will be benefitted with the budget but MSME sector's expectations were not met," he said.

Confederation of Indian Industry's Rajasthan chairman Anand Mishra said the budget has covered many items. "There is a good outlay of Rs 2,500 crore in tourism which we are sure that Rajasthan will be able to take benefit. The removal of dividend tax would lead to investment in stock market."

Haryana CM Khattar too highlighted the budgetary provisions made for the tourism sector, thanking Sitharaman for announcing that Rakhigarhi, an Indus Valley Civilisation site, will be developed as "iconic sites" with on-site museums.

He said this move will give Rakhigarhi international recognition and boost tourism revenue for Haryana.

"This Budget will also prove to be a milestone in terms of developing the basic infrastructure of the country, farmers' growth, jobs for youth and betterment of health facilities in the country," Adityanath said, adding the budget protects the interests of each section of the society.

His deputy Dinesh Sharma said the Union Budget will fulfil the dream of "New India".

"It will also lay the foundation of a USD 5-trillion economy. The New Educational Policy will bring a revolution in the education sector. Study in India programme will publicise India's higher education."

Yediyurappa said the emphasis on rural India in the budget will benefit farmers in a big way.

"This budget is a boon for farmers. It's a clear reflection of the Prime Minister's desire to double farmers' income by 2022. The 'Jal Jivan' scheme extended to 100 water-stressed districts will benefit farmers in a big way," he added.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the budget would not help strengthen the economy or ensure social security, but it will increase inflation and unemployment. He also said that "legitimate needs" of the southern state were completely ignored in the budget.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the budget was structured on the overall theme of 'Ease of Living'.

"I congratulate Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman ji for a common man-centric budget, and for taking ahead Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji's vision for a robust and vibrant India," Sawant added in a tweet.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat called it the "vibrant budget of a vibrant India" and dedicated to the poor, farmers, women and the youth. "The budget is capable of translating the Prime Minister's vision of Sab ka Saath, sab ka Vikas, sab ka Vishwas. It is dedicated to the aspirations of the country's villages, farmers, women, youth and the poor," he said.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and former CM PK Dhumal hailed the budget, saying it aimed to address hopes and aspirations of all sections of society.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani termed the budget "historic". Calling it farmer-oriented, Rupani said the schemes meant for farmers will help them raise their income.

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