'Union Budget lacked vision, vital issues ignored'

'Union Budget lacked vision, vital issues ignored'

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh (File Photo)

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday said the Union Budget "lacked vision" and had nothing to offer to any section of society.

He said it ignored a critical sector like defence and no allocation was made for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.

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Criticising the budgetary proposals, the chief minister said the Union Finance Minister ignored vital issues of national interest, spoke of achievements in the "past tense" and made promises in the "future tense", with no indication of what the government intended to offer to people.

"The past achievements referred to in the Budget were a testimony to the work done by the previous Congress governments, which the BJP-led NDA government was trying to negate instead of making any meaningful contribution to the nation's progress in the present," he said.

The CM claimed that the Budget contained no roadmap for the nation's growth.

He said after banking on the nationalist agenda to win the Lok Sabha elections, the NDA completely ignored this critical subject, announcing a meagre 6.5 per cent increase in the defence budget, barely sufficient to meet the inflationary cost with no capital expenditure outlay.

It was strange that for the first time, the finance minister of the country wrapped up the Budget speech without mentioning fiscal deficit and important sectors such as defence, he said.

Amarinder Singh flayed the Union government for allegedly turning a blind eye to the plight of farmers, saying the zero-budget farming proposal was "hogwash", containing no clear or definitive solution to their problems.

He said the Union government once again failed to come out with a farm debt waiver scheme besides remaining non-committal to the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.

He said the government's decision to impose a majority of new charges in the form of cess and surcharge was an attack on the country's federal structure.

"By imposing cess/surcharge instead instead of announcing new taxes, the Centre has deprived states of their 42 per cent share in the revenue," he said.

The CM also accused the government of manipulating GDP figures.

Meanwhile, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal termed the Union Budget "depressive", saying it was "long on talk and short of delivery."

He said the FM was silent on the issue of job creation.

"Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not mention the unemployment rate in the country and the steps to be taken to create jobs," he said.

Taking a dig at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for introducing a "bahi khata" (ledger) in place of a briefcase, he said the figures quoted by her in her speech were in US dollars.

"This is nothing but pseudo nationalism," he added.