Arun Jaitley, the Finance Minister of India, presented the Union Budget 2015-16 in the Lok Sabha on Saturday.
Like all governments in India claim, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government also believes that it’s a pro-poor Budget.
However, the opposition political parties have dismissed the government claims, saying the Budget has ignored the needs of the poor sections of society and it aims to please only the rich capitalists.
The Congress party said the BJP’s Budget is “of the corporates, for the corporates.”
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Former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, attacked the BJP government for bringing out a pro-corporate budget and ignoring the poor. On Saturday, Chidambaram said Modi-government’s first full budget has failed the fiscal test, the test of equity, and the test of rising inequality.
BJP opponents also mocked the Budget by calling it a “Dhan Wapsi” (or money return to capitalists) Budget, as the religious Hindu groups affiliated to the BJP are running a forced religion conversion campaign in India under the banner “Ghar Wapsi.”
By calling it a “Dhan Wapsi” Budget, opposition parties expressed that the BJP government wants to benefit the rich who supported BJP financially to win the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
“If one asks who is pleased by the Budget, I suspect it will be the corporates…Where does that leave the vast majority of the people, especially the poor, who look up to the government for succour and relief?” asked Congress leader Chidambaram.
“While the income tax payers (3.5 crore) may have got some relief, all others have been burdened with increases in Excise duty and Service tax,” he added. “This budget has been unkind to the poor, that’s the kindest thing I can say about budget 2015,” remarked Chidambaram.
He said there was no justification at all for setting back the target date of achieving a fiscal deficit of 3 per cent, by one year.
Chidambaram also questioned government’s claim that it has stretched the fiscal deficit from 3.6 per cent to 3.9 per cent in order to fund growth. “This is a questionable claim. 0.3 per cent means that the government will borrow an additional amount of Rs. 37,500 crore. To what use has this money been put,” he said.
The Congress leader said that ignoring the poor is against the ethos of the country and this government is doing exactly that.
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the prices of petrol and diesel have been increased by over Rs. 3 a litre, hours after the Union Budget imposing greater burdens on the people was presented. This is the second hike in the prices of petrol and diesel this month.
According to CPI(M), the BJP government instead of reducing the excise duty is passing the burdens on to the people. This increase in prices of petrol and diesel is unacceptable. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) has asked all its units to organise protests against this hike.