New Delhi: Opposition in Lok Sabha on Thursday accused the government of slashing expenditure on various social sector schemes, cutting food and fertiliser subsidies and burdening the common man through the latest budget by doing nothing to check rising prices.
They were also critical of the government on the black money issue saying the common man has got nothing despite the Prime Minister promising Rs 15 lakh in their accounts sooner than later by bringing back the black money stashed abroad. Initiating the debate on general budget, Congress member Shashi Tharoor took a dig at the government for its failure to bring back black money stashed abroad, saying "only Rs 30 per person has been collected as against the promise of Rs 15 lakh for each bank account holders."
People are still waiting to get Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts but some senior BJP leader now say that was only a 'political jumla (phrase)', he said.
Terming the budget as "political budget which is not for common man", Tharoor cited examples to say that even Sub-Saharan Africa spent 7 per cent on health and education while India has allocated just 4 per cent for this.
The allocation for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has also been cut, he said. While the funds for Nirbhaya Fund has been slashed from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 500 crore, the government has cut food subsidy by Rs 5,000 crore, fertiliser subsidy by Rs 2,000 crore, besides the allocations to education and to the Ministry of Minority Affairs. "Prime Minister said Budget is an exam. I would say he must try harder... PM Mann Ki Baat Karte hai, Finance Minister Dhan ki Baat Karte hai, Par Ye sarkar Jan ki baat kab karegi (when will government talk about common man when PM talks 'Mann ki Baat' and FM talks about finances)," he said.
He said the Budget has increased burden on the 'aam aadmi' by levying more cess in the form of Krishi Kalyan Cess. "In a bid to achieve ambitious growth (7 per cent) figure, the Finance Minister has burdened Aam Aadmi," he said.
"Government is talking about LPG gas connection...I hope the government leaves something in the hands of poor so that they can cook," he said. Talking about inflation, he said, the government has failed to check spiralling prices of essential items.
"Inflation has gone up so much for that pulses have become costlier than chicken," he said.
He also raised a question mark over the GDP target set by the government saying growth has slowed down in all the key sectors be it Index of Industrial Production or exports. Even corporate sector profitability has declined, he added. There are challenges of oil price increase and monsoon failure, he said, adding that the fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent seems difficult given fiscal pressure due to 7th Pay Commission and decline in tax revenue.