New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the General Budget for the financial year 2020-21 is a "laundry list of old programmes", adding that the government is in complete denial on the current state of the economy.
“I am at a loss to understand what was the message intended to be conveyed by Budget 2020-21. I am also not able to recall any memorable idea or statement in the speech. The government has given up on reviving the economy or promoting private investment or increasing efficiency or creating jobs or winning a greater share of world trade," Chidambaram told reporters today evening.
The Indian economy is demand-constrained and investment-starved. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who presented the Budget today, did not consider these two challenges, and that is a pity, he said.
"Consequently, she proposed no measures or solutions to those two challenges. If the twin challenges remain, the economy will not turn around and there will be no relief to the millions of poor and the middle class," Chidambaram said, adding that the government has rejected every reform idea, which was a part of the Economic Survey 2020.
Earlier today, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi too had criticised the government, saying it did not address the two key issues of economic growth and unemployment in the Budget.
“The main issues in this country today are unemployment and the economic situation. I didn’t see any concrete idea, any strategic idea that could help our youngsters to get jobs. I saw lot of tactical stuff, you know, redundant things. I didn’t see any central idea," Gandhi, also a Lok Sabha member, told reporters.
Opposition parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress, left parties and Aam Aadmi Party have criticised the Budget for being lacklustre and inadequate to address the more pressing problems of the economy.
“Just platitudes & slogans. Nothing substantial to alleviate peoples’ misery, the growing unemployment, rural wage crash, farmers’ distress suicides and galloping prices. #BudgetSpeech," Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, said on the micro-blogging and social networking website Twitter.
“I am shocked & appalled to see how the central government plans to ambush the heritage & legacy of public institutions. It’s the end of a sense of security. Is it also the end of an era? #LIC #IndianRailways #AirIndia #BSNL," West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
Banerjee’s tweet was in reference to Sitharaman announcing that the government plans to sell partial stake in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) through an initial public offering (IPO).