Case of ‘flawed prognosis and prescription’, FM selected to be timid: Congress on Union Finances

New Delhi, February 1

Terming the Union Budget as “directionless”, the Congress on Monday said it was a case of “wrong diagnosis and prescription”, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could have been “brave” by extending help to the poor, but chose to be “timid”.

The opposition party also said Sitharaman’s speech was oblivious to the declining GDP and alleged that the budget was without a roadmap for accelerating growth and revival of consumer demand.

“The FM could have been brave but chose to be timid. The nation needed a bold budget and more direct transfers to the weaker sections to revive demand, restart job creation,” senior Congress leader and Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma tweeted.

The Finance Minister could have been bold and extended help to the poor and the working class, but she chose to be timid and continued with the government’s rhetoric, Sharma said.

He further added that ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ and increased spending on public health were two bright spots in an otherwise “directionless” budget which will be forgotten in a few weeks.

Terming the budget “disappointing”, Congress’ Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi alleged that the BJP had put India into insolvency and bankruptcy, and was busy selling public-owned assets to 12 to 15 major companies.

“The rest of the country, which is struggling with rising costs, unemployment and corruption have to reconcile with a meaningless ‘Aatmanirbhar’ slogan,” he alleged.

Finance Minister Sitharaman presented the budget for 2021-22 in the Lok Sabha with a focus on driving economic recovery through higher spending on sectors such as healthcare and infrastructure.

She read out the budget speech in the Lok Sabha from a tablet on Monday instead of a conventional paper document as the first paperless budget since independence was presented by the government.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari also alleged that the budget was a “national monetisation plan — short hand for National Sell out” and there was “no central focus in Budget”.

“FM’s Talkthorn (sic) oblivious that growth rate of GDP is in a record 37th month decline. Worst Crisis since 1991. Except for a National Monetisation Plan – short hand for National Sell out no Central Focus in Budget. Bottom line – Will not grow economy but sell the family silver,” he tweeted.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took a dig at the Centre over the budget, saying “this BJP government reminds me of the garage mechanic who told his client, ‘I couldn’t fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder’.”

Another Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the budget had left the middle class “bruised and wounded” by not changing tax slabs, not increasing deductions, not making new deduction slots like home loans, not bringing fuel under GST, not sharing Rs 19 Lakh crore gain from fuel taxes, not reducing GST rates.

“After promising a century, FM is out hit wicket at Zero!! Instead of calling it as ‘budget of the century’ it will be remembered as ‘blunder of the century’ by BJP Government,” he tweeted.

“Budget case of ‘wrong diagnosis and wrong prescription’ by BJP government which instead of healing, reforming and rejuvenating has chosen to adopt damaging, disappointing and destroying approach to push the economy further into vortex of recession,” he said in a series of tweets. PTI

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