Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.(PTI)
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.(PTI)

In Lok Sabha, Opposition targets govt for ‘tepid budget’

  • On February 1, Sitharaman presented her third budget, boosting capital expenditure in an attempt to nurse the pandemic-ravaged economy back to health.
PUBLISHED ON FEB 11, 2021 06:33 AM IST

Initiating the discussion on the Budget for fiscal 2021-22, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday attacked finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman for slashing key allocations, calling it a tepid budget that ignored the interests of the middle class.

“The government has come out with a budget which deceives people with respect to the allocation in defence and health sectors. Lal Bahadur Shastri had said ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’. The contribution of this budget is ‘Na Jawan na Kisan’,” Tharoor said.

He said the “tepid budget ignored the middle class in their hour of need”. “You’ve given them an increase in fuel prices...Soon, banks will have to provide fuel loans,” he said.

Quoting poet Rabindranath Tagore, Tharoor said: “You cannot cross the sea by merely staring at the water.” He added that the budget had abdicated the government’s responsibility to the “weakest in our economy” and “fundamental expectations” of the nation.

On February 1, Sitharaman presented her third budget, boosting capital expenditure in an attempt to nurse the pandemic-ravaged economy back to health.The minister said the budget was founded on improvements to health and wellness, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, and inclusive development of aspiring India.

Tharoor said: “Bharat should be atmanirbhar (self-reliant), not bharatwaasis (Indians)”, adding that the government had left the common people to their own devices. “That is not the atmanirbharta we need.”

Responding to the MP from the principal Opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Meenakshi Lekhi said India had once been languishing in the “fragile five” club and is now among the “top five economies of the world”. India was counted among the “ fragile five” in 2013 by Morgan Stanley, which coined the term to describe emerging economies that relied too much on foreign investment for growth. Lekhi said: “When we are called the underdogs, we win the match. That’s what the budget has done.”

Trinamool Congress’s Saugata Roy said the budget had done nothing for the common man and the need was to put “ money into the hands of the people”.

DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran said the budget should have offered some income tax breaks. “People have lost jobs, they are sitting at home. The budget should have given some income tax relief during this time of crisis.”

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha earlier, minister of state for commerce and industry Som Parkash said, “There is no proposal to bring in changes to FDI rules for e-commerce sector in India, at present.”

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