States ruled by non-BJP parties panned the Union Budget on Friday for reducing central allocations with the Prime Minister’s adopted state Uttar Pradesh most strident in its criticism.
Mulayam Singh Yadav, chief of the ruling Samajwadi Party in the country’s most populous state, said he was disappointed with the budget because it offered little to farmers, youth and the jobless.
The people of Uttar Pradesh were upset as the budget ignored the state that had sent 73 BJP members to the Lok Sabha while poll-bound states Bihar, West Bengal and Assam were given prominence in the budget.
Congress-ruled Assam got a share of the pie but chief minister Tarun Gogoi remained sceptical, saying the “achche din” promised by the Modi government had become a fading dream.
Former NDA ally and AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa cautiously welcomed the budget but criticised the Union government for soft-pedaling on devolution of financial powers to states.
“The 14th Finance Commission has increased the shareable element out of the divisible pool from 32% to 42%, but the Central government has found numerous ways to claw back the increased devolution,” she said in Chennai.
Another former ally, the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, said the Centre was taking away with one hand whatever it was giving with the other.
“Allocations to most of the centrally-sponsored schemes targeted towards the poor stand drastically reduced,” state finance minister Amit Mitra said.
Odisha’s three-time chief minister Naveen Patnaik, whose Biju Janata Dal was an NDA ally until 2009, said the budget as well as the 14th Finance Commission had dealt a raw deal to the state. “Our state faced two of the worst calamities in the past two years consecutively in the form of (cyclones) Phailin and Hudhud. At least on this score, Odisha deserved special focus. I am shocked that this fact has been completely overlooked,” he said in Bhubaneswar.
The budget faced criticism from NDA ally and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who expressed displeasure over the Finance Commission’s recommendations for his state. “Being allies and having our governments both at the Centre and state, we expected good support for the new state,” he said in Hyderabad.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said the budget failed to meet the expectations of the people. “The state was supposed to get an AIIMS but was overlooked. Similarly, the demand for an IIT was ignored.”
BJP chief ministers were effusive in their praise for the budget. “Special focus on rural and infrastructural development, benefits for small and marginal farmers and plans to curb black money are highly appreciable,” Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh said in Raipur.