'Budget lacks concrete ideas, growth claims surprising'

Budget lacks concrete ideas, growth claims astonishing: Congress

Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram addresses a press conference on the Union Budget 2020-21, at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (Credit: PTI Photo)

Congress on Saturday slammed the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accusing the Modi government of giving up on reviving the economy or accelerating growth.

While former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was unable to absorb the “long budget”, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram accused the Finance Minister of rejecting outright every reform idea proposed in the Economic Survey.

“I am pretty certain that even the most loyal BJP MP or supporter cannot latch on to any idea or statement in the Budget speech and take it to the people,” Chidambaram said.

Rahul Gandhi said the budget was devoid of “any concrete strategic ideas” to tackle unemployment, which is at a four-decade high.

“It describes the government quite well. Lot of repetition, rambling and all talk but nothing happens. The country is of course suffering and youngsters feel they don't have a future,” he told reporters here.

Shredding the Budget to pieces, former finance minister Chidambaram there was nothing in it that would lead one to believe that growth will revive in 2020-21. “The claim of 6 to 6.5% growth next year is astonishing and even irresponsible,” he said.

Chidambaram did not offer an immediate comment on the announcement of partial disinvestment in Life Insurance Corporation saying the party would discuss the matter internally and articulate its position in Parliament.

The Congress leader said the Finance Minister did not acknowledge the twin challenges that the economy was demand-constrained and investment-starved.

“As she had not proposed any solutions to them, the economy would not turn around and there would not be any relief to the millions of poor and the middle class,” he said.

Congress also criticised reduction in food and fertiliser subsidies. Petroleum subsidy has shown a marginal increase because of anticipated oil price rise. The people were unlikely to get any relief on the price front, he said stating the CPI inflation was over 7% and food inflation over 10%.

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