Opposition parties today termed Narendra Modi government's maiden budget a "disappointment" and an "anti-poor" exercise which can "benefit only the rich". Despite raising expectations, the budget has turned out to be a "missed opportunity" for BJP, they said as they began by expressing apprehension that raising the tax exemption limit by Rs 50,000 was just "inadequate" when inflation was running high.
"This budget has nothing for the 'aam aadmi' and the poor. They have announced tax concessions to help corporates and big industrial houses. "While on the one hand, they have said they will continue with the tax collection fixed by the previous government, they have given concession to the big industrial houses under pressure," said the Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge. Kharge said the budget offers nothing for welfare schemes like MGNREGA and averred that the tax exemption would not help the common man battle the high inflation.
The deputy leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Capt Amrinder Singh, said the budget was "not pro-poor".
NCP chief and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said, "It is a disappointment, rain of announcements, bunch of words and, lastly, insufficient fuel supply to engine of growth. "It is a corporate budget. There is nothing exceptional in this budget. There is nothing that will help the common man facing the brunt of rising prices. The Rs 50,000 raise in tax exemption limit will not help the common man. With the rise in indirect taxes, prices of all items are going to rise." Pawar, however, hailed the 'one-rank-one-pension' provision for ex-servicemen, which the previous UPA government had initiated, and grant of heritage status to Amritsar.
But BJD leader Baijayant Panda gave a "cautious thumbs up" to the budget saying that, "under the prevailing circumstances, the Finance Minister has handled it well, particularly the infrastructure sector, the thrust on Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and rural development, like drinking water schemes."
Congress leader Veerappa Moily said the budget is "average" and makes no mention of how the government proposes to put the country on the path to recovery from the recession of earlier years. "It is an average budget. We expected a lot of things, particularly from Arun Jaitley because he is a person who can work on these things. Unfortunately, I don't know how everything is diluted. Reform measures do not find a place (in the budget)," Moily said.
Congress leader Ashwani Kumar dubbed the Budget as a "missed opportunity" for BJP. It is a "lacklusture" budget and nothing more than an exercise in "fraudulent symbolism. It is high on rhetoric and low on substance".
President of the Indian Union Muslim League, E Ahamed, too, termed the budget "lacklustre" and "anti-poor and pro rich". Ahamed, a former UPA minister, said, "As far as minorities are concerned, it is very disappointing. Minorities are also living in this country but the budget has completely neglected them."