New Delhi, Jul 8 : The Modi government's maiden Budget after recent polls presented in Parliament on July 5 has predictably evoked mixed reactions from members in the Lok Sabha with the treasury bench hailing it as being forward looking while the opposition slammed it calling a Trishanku and pro-corporate Budget.
Initiating the debate, Congress member Shashi Tharoor gave the analogy of cricket and said: "Since cricket is on our minds these days with World Cup semi-final tomorrow, let me say that instead of bold boundaries we expected in this first budget after the elections, what we have are unnecessarily defensive strokes, dropped catches and quite a few no balls".
Maintaining that it was a "marvelous touch" on the part of the Finance Minister to bring Tamil poetry in the House; he, however, said - "I cannot resist pointing out her metaphor (on elephant walking into the paddy field) accurately" talks about her government as a "slow moving elephant". The government has chosen to squander the mandate it received in general elections, he said.
Mr Tharoor said investment in public as well as private sector reduced in the last Quarter by 81 per cent compared to the last quarter in the previous year. He said there were severe challenges in employment and the government silence on job creation was shocking when according to NSSO report, unemployment was at a 45-year low. Among others, Kalyan Banerjee of Trinamool Congress and BSP MP Kunwar Danish Ali said it was a pro-corporate budget.
Mr Ali said the Modi government is anti-poor and is hardly concerned about the farmers. ".....There was widespread stagnation in every area from manufacturing to export," Mr Tharoor alleged adding "the Budget 2019 had unnecessary defensive strokes, dropped catches and quite a few no balls"."It was like a Trishanku Budget....neither here nor there," the Congress MP said.
The BJP members, however, described it as a roadmap to achieve the USD 5-trillion economy. Former Union minister Jayant Sinha, when the BJP-led NDA came to power in 2014, the country's economy was like a 'passenger train'.
"We dragged it on the right track and under the stewardship of Arun Jaitley, in last five years, we could make it a Rajdhani Mail".
"This Budget is with a far-sighted vision and I would like to compliment the incumbent Finance Minister that when we leave, we will make this Rajdhani mail turned into a bullet locomotive," Mr Sinha said amid thumping of desks by the members in the treasury bench. T R Baalu (DMK) said rise in fuel price will have a cascading impact on price situation and demanded that it should be withdrawn immediately.
Mr Sinha expressed confidence that the Centre will not only meet its target of USD 5-trillion economy but reach the USD 10 trillion mark. Among NDA allies, Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut praised the Budget and said it was in tune with the government's plans for ushering in 'acchhe din (Good days)'. Sukhbir Singh Badal (SAD) said it was a visionary budget.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Bhartruhari Mahtab said the government's ambitious plans to achieve five Trillion economy is daunting but is achievable provided the government take necessary steps on domestic savings and to augment investment. Bureaucrat-turned politician Aparajita Sarangi, first -time BJP lawmaker from Bhubaneswar praised the Budget announcement that state-owned banks would get Rs 70,000 crore boost for credit improvement.It was a highly aspirational Budget and very different from the budget of pre-2014 era, she said, adding that 'Let us not be pessimistic'.
During the debate, Nagaland MP Tokheho Yepthomi of NDPP described the Budget as a 'balanced one' and underlined the need for adequate funding to take up road projects in the northeastern states. Among others BJP MPs Jugal Kishore Sharma, Ramesh Bidhuri and Jagdambika Pal also hailed the Budget.