The Opposition parties on Tuesday criticised the government for the “anti-people” budget, with Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin raising a red flag also over its centralising agenda.
Opposition leaders said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had not matched even the commitments articulated in the early part of her speech, where she claimed the government was committed to “strengthening the abilities of the poor to tap all opportunities” and providing “the necessary ecosystem for the middle classes”.
Stalin described the budget as anti-federal in a three-page response detailing his objections.
“#Budget2022 presented by the finance minister is anti-federal & anti-people. With the nation awaiting a relief during the pandemic, what this Government has offered is an inept attempt at relief, especially after 7 years of sheer misgovernance at the national level,” he tweeted.
On federalism, Stalin described the “One Nation, One Registration” proposal to create a uniform system for the registration of land documents as an encroachment on the rights of the states.
Sitharaman had said: “The adoption or linkage with National Generic Document Registration System (NGDRS) with the ‘One Nation, One Registration’ software will be promoted as an option for uniform process for registration and ‘anywhere registration’ of deeds and documents.”
Also, Stalin was sceptical about the Rs 1 lakh crore allocation for the states to ostensibly promote cooperative federalism. He argued that while this may appear to benefit the state governments, the Centre was likely to use it to push its own schemes as part of the Prime Minister’s Gati Shakti Plan.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said the rising unemployment and prices had, along with declining incomes, generated great anxiety among the people. He rued that this had not moved the central government to address the plight of the people.
“Concrete answers were expected from the budget but it does not meet the expectation of the masses,” he said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “People had high expectations from the budget in the times of Corona. The budget has disappointed people. There is nothing in the budget for the general public. Nothing to reduce inflation.”
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted: “When human suffering exponentially grew during last two years, subsidies on food, fertiliser & petroleum slashed. Cruel assault on people’s livelihoods.”
He asked why the richest 10 per cent Indians – who own 64.6 per cent of the country’s wealth – and those who have amassed huge profits during the pandemic were not being taxed more. “Budget for whom?” he asked.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik was optimistic about the focus on technology and infrastructure-led growth but urged a rethink of the slash in allocation to critical sectors like agriculture and farmer welfare, higher education, rural development, and women and child development.
“This could hamper inclusive growth... needs to be reconsidered,” he said in a recorded message posted on social media by the BJD, which usually toes the middle path.