SRINAGAR/JAMMU: The National Conference (NC) on Wednesday described the Union budget as a “big flop” and “jugglery of words”, saying the only takeaway from it was that it was presented by a woman finance minister under a woman president.
“It was jugglery of words and there was nothing else in the budget. Except for playing with words and figures, I think the budget is a big flop,” NC’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said here.
Referring to a recent Oxfam report, which stated that the income of 84 per cent households in the country declined and the number of billionaires increased from 102 in 2020 to 142 in 2022, he said in India, the poor has become poorer and the rich richer.
“The middle class and the poor had expected that the 80C (section of the IT Act) limit would be increased, the tax slab would be increased to Rs 10 lakh. There was no discussion on horticulture, agriculture, tourism, transport, artisans, at least for Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Jammu and Kashmir had expected a lot from this budget, but there is nothing in it, nothing about joblessness or employment (generation),” the NC leader said.
He claimed that there is nothing in the budget for the poor and the middle class.
“The only takeaway is that this budget has been presented under a woman president, by a woman finance minister. That is the only good part about it,” he added.
Sadiq said there was no pre-budget consultation with the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir.
“It brings me to the question of how important an elected government is in Jammu and Kashmir, which at least feels the pulse of the people,” he added.
Jammu and Kashmir has been neglected in the Union Budget and it has no roadmap for dealing with rising prices and unemployment, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) said on Wednesday.
“The budget has not brought any good news for the poor, unemployed youths and farmers besides small traders who are worst affected by the economic policies of the BJP government,” PCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said in a statement.
He said the budget has no roadmap for dealing with rising prices, large scale unemployment and economic crisis faced by farmers.
“Jammu and Kashmir has been suffering for the last over three years and it has been neglected in the budget,” he said, adding even the wages of MGNREGA workers have not been enhanced.
“There is no good news for the anganwadi workers, daily wagers and the working class except a small tax rebate to the middle class. Farmers, who were promised to double their income, are in great economic distress and there is no relief for them in the budget,” he said.
The Union Budget is not people-friendly as it has been prepared keeping in mind the interests of a few businessmen, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti alleged on Wednesday.
Talking to reporters here, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said the budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the same as the ones presented by the BJP-led government over the last eight-nine years.
“Taxes have increased and money is not being spent on welfare schemes or subsidies. Taxes are being amassed for their crony capitalists. The taxes imposed should have benefitted the people, but they have broken their backs.
“Rather than benefitting people, welfare schemes and subsidies are being done away with. The situation in the country is such that those who had risen above the poverty line have again fallen below it,” Mufti said.
She alleged that the budget has been prepared for “a few businessmen”. “This is not for the people of India, not for the poor,” the former Union minister said.
“This is not a people-friendly budget. The taxes have been increased, the GST (Goods and Services Tax) has been increased. Money will be taken out of the pockets of the poor and it will go to big businessmen,” Mufti said.
Meanwhile, Jammu-based Federation of Industries (FOI) welcomed the Union Budget as “industry friendly” and beneficial for all sections of society in J-K.
“We welcome the proposals for the speedy development of the MSME sector as well as for the corporate sector within Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country,” the FOI said.
However, the industry body requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to provide adequate funds for the development of industrial infrastructure, which includes the completion of industrial estates, in time bound manner in the Union territory on the basis of Rs 28,400 crore industrial package announced in January last year.