Chennai: The Opposition parties have slammed the budget with DMK president M K Stalin, the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, saying it did not address the woes of the common man and even seemed indicative of the state heading for bankruptcy burdened with overload of unmanageable debt.
"The Budget will be useless for the poor of the State. When there is severe unemployment among the youth, the state has announced no concrete measure to combat it," he said while speaking to reporters here on Friday. He was disheartened that no importance was given to the welfare of government employees or to farmers.
"When other states are waiving off loans, our State is only considering waiving off the interest," Mr Stalin said and added that the state's finances were similar to an insolvent company.
Apart from allocating funds for a college in Abdul Kalam's name, the Budget had no schemes or plan to improve higher education in the State. Fund allocation for Adi Dravidar welfare was also insufficient, VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan has said.
PMK founder Dr S. Ramadoss said the budget, although largely a disappointing one, has a couple of good announcements like the allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the Athikadavu Avinashi water scheme. On the waste-to-energy project announced in the budget, he said it would result in air pollution. The mega parking scheme for Chennai would result in congestion and not ease the traffic, Dr. Ramadoss claimed.
MDMK chief Vaiko said the budget had no new schemes and sounded like a compilation of the last eight budgets presented by Mr. Panneerselvam.
The announcement of schemes for the farmers (crop insurance), Athikadavu Avinashi water scheme and increased allocation for education are comforting factors, said AMMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran. The non-receipt of dues from the Central government as mentioned in the budget shows that Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam have pledged the interests of the State for selfish reasons, he said.
CPI state secretary R. Mutharasan said the budget belied the expectations of the people, especially those affected by cyclone Gaja. "The announcement on constructing one lakh concrete houses to replace the damaged huts in the Gaja-ravaged districts is nothing new," he said.
Expressing in similar vein, CPI (M) state secretary K. Balakrishnan said the budget was bereft of any new announcement and lacked announcements on development initiatives.
BJP state president Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan however said, the budget has introduced schemes for the poor and bestowed attention to agriculture sector. Reacting to Stalin's comments, she said he appears to react to the budget without ascertaining what it highlights. "For instance he seems to have missed numerous good announcements like Rs 10,000 crore crop loan to farmers and increase in farm subsidy. The government has successfully implemented the crop insurance scheme," she said.