Opposition slams govt in LS for ignoring ‘aam admi’ in budget, showing insensitivity towards agitating farmers

“The aam aadmi has been let down totally in the last seven years, and the budget has betrayed his most fundamental aspirations,” Congress member Shashi Tharoor said

File photo of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor speaking in Parliament (Photo courtesy: Twitter)
File photo of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor speaking in Parliament (Photo courtesy: Twitter)

NH Web Desk

The Opposition slammed the government in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday for ignoring the "aam admi" and showing insensitivity towards agitating farmers in the budget proposals for 2021-22, which were unveiled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this month.

"The aam aadmi has been let down totally in the last seven years...and the budget has betrayed his most fundamental aspirations," Congress member Shashi Tharoor said while initiating the general discussion on the Union Budget.

The finance minister has neither played defensive nor hit the ball, he said, adding, "She has just run out of ideas. You cannot cross the sea but just keep staring at it."

Tharoor said the budget has reduced expenditure on defence and healthcare, and "delivered a blow to the economic system".

Although the nation suffered a lot because of the stringent lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government's response to deal with the sufferings of people "showed no sensitivity", he said, adding, "Bharat should become aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) and not Bharatvasis."

Accusing the government of ignoring the crisis instead of recognising that there is one at the border with China, Tharoor said the Centre seems to have overturned the slogan "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" into "Na Jawan, Na Kisan".

Dayanidhi Maran of the DMK said that the government did not extend any income tax concessions to the middle class and the budget was not for the common people.

He said that the COVID-19-induced lockdown has severely impacted the tourism industry and the government has not done anything to support that sector.

"This budget was touted as an unprecedented budget. True Sir. It is unprecedented left all budget," Maran said, adding that there is no clarity on sector-specific revival.

Congress member Tharoor said the budget, did nothing to assuage the concerns of the agitating farmers with regard to the minimum support price (MSP).

The road to a new India should not be littered with the wreckage of the old India, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said and urged the government not to create barriers on the path of the "annadatas" (farmers), who are protesting against three new farm laws at the borders of Delhi.

During the debate, Maran also said that despite the fact that crude oil prices have seen a dip in global markets, fuel prices in India shot up during the pandemic time.

Talking about defence sector, he said the budget for this important segment has been increased marginally. "We are in the middle of extreme tension with China...The figures of defence spending barely show any change. We are worried...We are in a war situation. We have to ensure that our army is well armoured to protect our country," he said.

He claimed that the allocations for agriculture was slashed.

The DMK MP said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi became emotional in Rajya Sabha while giving his farewell speech to Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday and asked why Modi cannot show the same compassion for protesting farmers.

Referring to the Rs 35,000 crore allocation for COVID-19 vaccines in the budget, Maran said a forensic audit should be done on companies that receive the funds to ensure that it is not a "backdoor for funding political parties".

Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy alleged that budget failed to provide support measures for poor and migrant labourers.

"I think this budget is not good for the country... There is nothing to discuss in the budget. She (Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman) is part of OLX, which sells everything," he said.

He added that fiscal prudence has been thrown out of window and the government is getting most of the money from borrowing.

Roy stated that the finance minister is a "Great Dismantler".

"Public assets built over time will be sold to cronies of the government. This is the worst form of crony capitalism," he added.

He said that allocations to key programmes like MNREGA has been reduced.

(With agency inputs)

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