Home / Budget / News /  Chidambaram says Budget 'callous', shows how far Modi govt is removed from people, their concerns

After the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023, Congress leader and former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram claimed the budget to “betray" the hopes of a majority of Indians.

He also mentioned how the Union Budget 2023 shows how far removed the government is from the people and their concerns about life, livelihood and the growing inequality between the rich and the poor.

P Chidambram served as the Finance Minister under former PM Manmohan Singh's tenure during 2012-14 and 2004-08. Additionally, he led the Ministry of Finance one more time in 1996-98.   

Here are the key points on what the Congress leader said about the Union Budget 2023 during a press conference held at the AICC headquarters on Wednesday.

-During the press conference, he termed the Union Budget as “callous". He also drew the public's attention towards the terms that were absent from the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's budget speech. He said words like unemployment, poverty, inequality or equity couldn't be found anywhere in her Budget speech at the Parliament.

- "Let me begin by pointing out, with regret, that the FM has not mentioned the words unemployment, poverty, inequality or equity anywhere in her speech. Mercifully, she has mentioned the word poor twice in her speech. I am sure the people of India will take note of who are in the concerns of the government and who are not," Chidambaram said.

-He also said that the Budget lacked the much needed tax relaxation for the public. The government made some announcement in this regard only for those who opted for the new tax regime, said P Chidambaram during the press conference.

-Talking about expectations from government in related to reduction GST rates, he said, “No indirect taxes have been reduced. There is no cut in the cruel and irrational GST rates."

-The budget also missed on addressing key issues like rise in the price of fuel, fertilisers, and other basic commodities. "There is no reduction in the prices of petrol, diesel, cement, fertilizers etc. There is no cut in the numerous surcharges and cesses which are, anyway, not shared with the state governments," Chidambaram added.

-In contrast to the government's claim of focusing on inclusivity in the Budget 2023, P Chidambaram said the poor, jobless youngsters, homemakers and taxpayers, are not the prime beneficiaries of the annual financial statement.

-Drawing attention towards the rising income divide in the country, he said that the budget hasn't even made any gains to “the thinking Indians who are shocked by the growing inequality, the rise of the number of billionaires and the wealth being accumulated in the hands of the 1 per cent of the population."

-He also accused the government of being inclined to making undue favours to the “gift city" Ahmedabad, at the cost of other commercial and financial centres.

-The government announced to continue with the old tax regime in tandem with the new tax regime. However, its decision to make the new regime as default, was regarded as the centre's initiative to ‘push’ it on tax payers by the Congress leader. He said that there are few takers of new tax regime for a variety of reasons.

-P Chidambram called the government's decision to make the new tax regime as default option as “grossly unfair". The move will rip off the common people of the meagre social cover they are offered in the name of tax deductions and exemptions.

(With agency inputs)

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