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Opposition supports political funding curbs but calls Budget 'aimless'

No roadmap for the country or the future, said Mamata Banerjee after Jaitley tabled the Budget

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Mamata Banerjee, Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

The Opposition on Wednesday denounced the Union Budget with Rahul Gandhi saying it lacked a clear vision and had nothing for farmers, youths and job creation while West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dubbed it as "clueless, useless and heartless" and questioned why no data on demonetisation was given.

Terming the Budget as "contractionary" and a "complete gimmick", the Left parties alleged that the figures given by the Finance Minister do not match the reality.

The opposition parties also accused the government of bringing the Budget proposals keeping in mind the Assembly polls in five states and indulging in jugglery of words and numbers.

However, the government's proposal to cleanse political funding by bringing in transparency did find favour with most of them.

"We were expecting fireworks, instead it was a damp squib. It is just 'sher-o-shayari' in the budget. There is nothing for farmers and youth and nothing for job creation. There is no clear vision, no idea," Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said soon after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the Budget.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose Trinamool Congress boycotted the first two days of the Budget session to protest against demonetisation, claimed the Budget has no road map and is full of hollow words.

"A controversial #Budget2017 which is clueless, useless, baseless, missionless and actionless. Heartless. No roadmap for the country or the future from a government that has lost all its credibility," Banerjee said in a tweet.

"Taxpayers still have restrictions on withdrawals. Remove all restrictions immediately. And where are the figures for #DeMonetisation? Misleading. Full of jugglery of numbers and hollow words which mean nothing," she said.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav also said the government did not touch upon the issue of how much black money has been recovered post demonetisation.

Rahul was appreciative of proposals on political funding, saying "any step to clean political funding will be supported by us".

At the same time, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the proposals to cleanse political system do not specify how the government plans to implement it.

"They have promised all these things keeping polls in five states in mind. They have not said anything for farmers, youth, women. They have accepted that GDP growth has gone down," Kharge said.

On Rail Budget, Rahul said, "Modi had promised the bullet train. Where is the bullet train now? Railways' fundamental problem is safety."

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury termed the Budget as "contractionary".

"It an example of finance minister joining the prime minister and the BJP president to create 'jumlas' (phrases used as rhetoric). The Budget is a classic example of that.

"It won't boost employment or generate demand. The idea of infrastructure development is a farce because the data given by the finance minister is not related to reality, does not match to what he said in his speech," Yechury said.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader in Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab wondered from where the revenue would come for the government at a time when the manufacturing growth is coming down.

He, as also his party colleague Tathagata Satpathy, said more relief should have been given to the middle-income group. Mahtab said that with the implementation of Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, it had become essential to give benefit to salaried and fixed income groups.

Satpathy said that the finance minister handled the "demon" part of demonetisation through "smooth language and smattering of poetry". Mahtab, however, said greater thrust on infrastructure and investment in rural development was welcome.

Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP's) Tariq Anwar said the Budget was way below expectations and had nothing for farmers and youth. Party leader Supriya Sule too noted that the Budget did not offer anything to farmers. She said the Budget is giving more thrust on employment guarantee scheme of MGNREGA which the BJP had allegedly opposed for years.

"It is a government of U-turn," she quipped.

"The budget is high on rhetoric and short on delivery. It does not lay out a roadmap to return India to a high growth trajectory. There is a fundamental contradiction between enhanced public expenditure and the fiscal deficit cap," Congress leader Manish Tewari said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) national secretary D Raja said the budget has nothing "spectacular" to offer and does not stoke any hope of retrieval of country's economy, which he added, is in "bad shape as underscored in the economic survey" released yesterday.

"Besides, the way they claim about giving thrust on rural development, it is rhetoric, done in view of polls in five states. What are the efforts for job creation? On the issue of tax, how they are going to tighten noose around those evading tax, they have not explained," Raja said.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav was not impressed with the restriction on cash donations to political parties to Rs 2000.

"Until the people of the country teach a lesson to those with black money, things will not improve," he said.

Varaprasad Rao Velagapalli, Leader of YSR Congress in the Lok Sabha, said the Budget is "not encouraging" as there is no concrete proposal for generating employment.

"There is no special status to Andhra Pradesh, so no justice has been done to us. The BJP promised a railway zone to Vizag.

"They did not consider a single proposal for employment. They have not considered the poor people," Velagapalli said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia said the national capital has been yet again deprived of its due from central share in this year's budget.

"Delhi's share in central taxes remains stagnant for 17th year at Rs 325 crore. Detailed govt response follows. My initial response is Delhi has been deprived of its due from central share in this year's budget too," Sisodia tweeted.

First Published: Wed, February 01 2017. 17:44 IST