Union Budget fails to address creation of jobs: Opposition

Move to sell stake in state-owned LIC comes under severe criticism.

New Delhi: Opposition parties slammed the Union Budget on Saturday saying it had no plans to tackle the biggest issue facing the country which was unemployment. The parties also came down heavily on the government for a bid to “privatise” the Life Insurance Corporation of India.

The ruling BJP though hailed it as “visionary and futuristic, growth-oriented and all-inclusive”.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi described the Budget as repetitive and having a hollow approach. He said it does not address the main issue of unemployment and the poor state of the economy. “The main issues confronting this country today are unemployment and the poor state of economy. I did not see any concrete, strategic idea that would help our youngsters get jobs. I saw a lot of tactical stuff, redundant things, I did not see any central idea,” he told the media outside Parliament minutes after the presentation of the Budget.

Former finance minister P. Chidambaram said: “The government is in complete denial that the economy faces a grave macro-economic challenge and the growth rate has declined in six successive quarters. There is nothing in the Budget that leads us to believe that the growth will revive in 2020-21. The claim of 6 to 6.5 per cent growth next year is astonishing and even irresponsible.”

On the new income tax regime, which does away with exemptions given under various sections while reducing the tax rates, Mr Chidambaram said: “We would welcome any relief to the lower brackets. But only when you trade off the exemption then you can come to know the actual relief.”

The Congress also questioned the government’s move to sell off stake in the state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said: “The announcement that the government would sell part of its stake in LIC is disappointing. Common people have invested their hard-earned money in LIC, all those people now feel cheated. The government must not put people’s deposits in danger in a bid to privatise LIC.
Describing the Budget speech as “filibuster”, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Budget was a complete failure as far as addressing the economic slowdown was concerned.

“The only source of revenue the government is banking on is privatisation,” he said criticising the decision to sell off a part of government stake in LIC.

He also alleged that talk on only nominal rates as compared to the real ones was an effort to obfuscate data. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said that the automobile sector has been completely ignored and unemployment issue is not addressed fairly. “It was the lengthiest speech, but lacked farsightedness and direction,” he said.

Trinamul Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien slammed the government over tax cuts and said: “Read the fine print on the so-called IT cuts. The government removes incentives to ‘save’ in a nation where there is no social security.70/100 tax exemptions withdrawn. Exemptions were given as incentive to save money in PPF, LIC, health insurance, etc.”

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