ANI Photo | Congress criticises interim budget 2024-25; says federalism weakened by central govt during past years

Following the announcement of the interim budget 2024-25, the Congress targeted the central government ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stating that federalism has been weakened by the government during the past years.
P Chidambaram, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister, said that the Finance Minister did speak about ‘minimum government’ and ‘maximum governance’, but in reality, the ‘minimum government’ has undermined federalism.
“The FM spoke about minimum government and maximum governance. The minimum government policy, in reality, has undermined federalism. Staffed state governments with funds and virtually reduced the third tier of governance, panchayats and municipalities, to cyphers. The overwhelming majority of people are dependent on the third tier of government for their services but that tier has been virtually deprived of human and financial resources,” Chidambaram said while addressing the media.
“Federalism has been considerably weakened by the central government,” he added.
The veteran Congress leader further said, “The FM did speak about the GDP, but she did not speak about per-capita income. She spoke about free grain for 80 crore people, but she did not speak about India’s rank in the global hunger index or widespread malnutrition among children.”
P Chidambaram further stated that Sitharaman ‘barely’ spoke about inflation.
“She (FM Nirmala Sitharaman) barely referred to inflation, but she did not refer to the fact that food inflation is currently 7.7%. The real wages for casual workers have stagnated for four years and the fact that there is an increase in the proportion of workers dependent on agriculture,” he said.
“The boast about establishing numerous education institutions and aims like hospitals must be pitted against the fact that thousands of teaching posts are vacant in central universities and central government-established institutions. The new hospitals do not have sufficient nurses, doctors, supporting medical staff or equipment,” Chidambaram added.
The Congress leader further said that the ‘boasts’ cannot be accomplished with low expenditures allotted to education and the health sectors.
“The allocation in the 2024-25 budget for health is 1.8% and for education, it is 2.5% of total expenditure. None of the boasts can be accomplished with such low expenditure,” he said.
Earlier today, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Budget 2024 and expressed hope that the good policies and the work done by the Central government will help the BJP return to power for the third consecutive time in a row.
Addressing the Lok Sabha, the Union Finance Minister said in her budget speech, “Our young country has high aspirations, pride in its present and hope and confidence for a bright future. We expect that our government, based on its stupendous work, will be blessed again by the people with a resounding mandate.” (ANI)

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