New Delhi, February 11:
Hitting back at the Congress for its “incompetent doctors” remark on handling of the economy, the BJP on Tuesday said there was no foundation for the opposition criticism and termed as “wrong” the diagnosis and treatment of the economy done during the UPA regime.
Participating in the discussion on the Finance Bill, BJP member Ashwini Vaishnaw said the Union Budget for 2020-21 has taken care of all sections of society and all sectors to ensure all-round development of the country.
He said the demand will rise due to increased spending power and the government has infused money to increase public sector spending.
“Our doctor is right and our diagnosis is also right….You did vote bank politics, while we are doing ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas,’ he said.
“Your diagnosis was wrong and your treatment was wrong too. There is no foundation for your criticism. But you are indulging in misleading the country,” he said.
Initiating the debate on the Union Budget for 2020-21, Congress leader P Chidambaram had said on Monday that the economy was close to collapse and was being attended by “very incompetent doctors.”
The BJP MP said investment and demand will rise through this budget and every section of society will be benefited.
Justifying the RBI paying the government out of its reserves, he said it is the duty of every central bank to return extra income to the government and central banks across the world do this.
Opposition members said the Budget has not lived up to expectations and fails to address challenge faced by the Indian economy.
They also attacked the Union government for the “step- motherly” treatment to states and privatisation of public sector units including Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
PL Punia (Congress) said the government is not ready to accept the crisis in the economy and urged the finance minister to consult experts to address the problem.
He also accused the government of doing nothing for the welfare of scheduled castes and tribals, saying sub-plans be restored for SCs and Tribals.
Continuing the debate on the Budget, TRS member K Keshava Rao said the Budget has set up an ambitious disinvestment target and would be difficult to achieve. He said the dual tax system proposed in the Budget would benefit chartered accountants.
The TRS member also raised the issue of “step motherly” treatment being given to States in devolution of taxes.
Binoy Vishwam (CPI) said the economy is already on “ventilator” and the Budget does not provide any solution to it.
He accused the government of selling off national wealth to select private companies.
Vishwam said even the BJP-RSS affiliated trade union BMS is opposing the stake sales in the LIC. He also rued that allocation for MNREGA has been lowered by around Rs 10,000 crore.
BSP member Veer Singh said the Centre has “ruined” the Indian economy and unemployment is at a 45 year-high. He charged the BJP-ruled central government has failed to fulfil its promises.
He alleged the Centre is ending reservations for SC/STs and OBCs.
Singh asked the government to provide reservation to SC/STs and OBCs in private sector if it is serious and committed to welfare of backward classes.
Kumari Selja of the Congress focused on Haryana in her speech and said the State has not got its due in terms of allocation of funds.
“There was lot of expectation from the Budget that it will address problems of the country as well that of women,” she said, adding the Budget turned out to be a damp squib.
The Congress leader raised the reservation issue and accused the Central government of misleading the House.
Participating in the debate, BJP leader Rajeev Chandrashekar said the Budget continues to address the “mess” in the economy left by the previous government.
The UPA regime had left the economy in a crisis and financial market in a devastating state as scams exploded owing to loans given to 10 groups, he charged.
“This nightmare was turned around by our government…Our economic management is in sharp contrast to theirs. We have delivered unprecedented macro economic strength to the economy. This is the fact,” he said, listing out achievements of the Modi government in the last six years.
However, there were cyclical and structural issues owing to disruptions in global trade, he said and added, “these are growing pains in any economy and the government will address them all.”
Hitting out at Chidambaram for the doctor remarks, the BJP leader said, “Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government had left health and robust patient (economy) and handed it over to a dream team of doctors (Congress) which after ten years left it terminally ill…
“But the Modi government revived it although some pain remains and that will be addressed. The government will not leave the patient to relapse,” he said, adding the Budget 2020 is a “careful and prudent” budget.
He said the government is off to a good budget start and hopes to achieve the target of USD 5 trillion economy.
Criticising the budget, Congress leader Ripun Bora said it was the “longest budget with shortest expectations” and listed out failures of the present government.
He said the government has not set up a mechanism for doubling of farmers’ income. The budget allocation has been made only for 100 water stressed villages even though the government’s survey had identified 255 villages in 2019.
Even on ease of living, the government has not made any progress as purchasing power of people has been declining besides there is rise in prices of essential items and growing unemployment, he said.
Although one cooking gas cylinder is given free under the Ujwala Scheme, people are not able to afford subsequent cylinders at such high rates, he said.
Bora said a person gets rice at a subsidised rate of Rs 3/kg from ration shops but to cook it he needs Rs 45 per litre for kerosene and over Rs 1,000 per cooking gas cylinder.
On Swachh Bharat Mission, he requested the House to send a parliamentary panel to Assam to check the quality of toilets been build under this programme. Most toilets are not functional as they are not clean in the absence of water and even quality of construction is poor.
On unemployment, the Congress leader said lower allocation of Rs 3,000 crore for skill development shows the level of government’s commitment towards resolving the problem of unemployment in the country.
Similarly on developing smart cities, the budget allocation has been made for only five cities, although 100 cities were identified, he said, adding Assam was ignored in the budget.
“Overall, this budget is not ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’, it is Ambani and few companies’ vikas,” he charged.