ANI Photo | “Nothing for poor, lower middle class…interim budget lacks accountability and vision”: Kharge

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday said that there was nothing for the poor, lower middle-class, and middle-class citizens in the interim budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament and the government did not state how many of the promises it had made had been fulfilled.
He said accountability and vision are “missing” in the interim budget.
“I listened to the budget carefully. Nothing was mentioned in this budget for the poor, lower middle class, or middle class. This is their budget only for day-to-day affairs. They did not give the details of promises made for 10 years, they should have compared how many promises were made and how many were fulfilled. They should give a comparative statement,” Kharge said.
The Congress chief also took a dig at the government over references to the work done in the past 10 years and praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“They think that the country got independence only after 2014, and the country is seeing democracy only after PM Modi came to power. What happened to the promise of 2 crore jobs, what happened to bring back black money, and what happened to the promise of doubling the income of farmers?” Kharge said.
In a post on X, Kharge said they expected some new schemes to ease the suffering of poor and middle class from this Interim Budget2024.
Referring to Sitharaman speaking of the government intending to bring a white paper comparing the 10 years of the Congress-led UPA government and that of the BJP-led NDA government, he posed 11 questions.
“How many of the promises made by the government in the last 10 years have been fulfilled? There was no mention of those promises in the Budget. Two crore jobs annually, Doubling Farmers’ Income, Pucca houses for all by 2022, 100 SMART cities, all these promises have not been fulfilled till date.
“How did the Agricultural growth rate, which was 4.6% in 2014 plunged to 1.8% this year? Why are 31 farmers forced to commit suicide every day? How did the spending on Education, which was 4.55 per cent of the total budget in 2014, fall to 3.2 per cent? Why is the share of SC, ST, OBC and minority welfare continuously falling compared to the total budget? Why is the defence spending and healthcare spending declining by the year?” he asked.
“Why is the Unemployment Rate highest in 45 years? Why has unemployment rate hit a peak of 45.5 per cent for youth aged 20-24? Why did Modi Govt snatch the jobs of more than 3 crore people? Why are papers leaked every month? Why are household Savings a 50-year-low? Why is 5 per cent to 18 per cent GST imposed on essential goods? Why are the prices of flour, pulses, rice, milk and vegetables increasing day by day?” he asked further.
Kharge said the Finance Minister claims that the income of the common people has increased.
“This is a lie. The truth is that wages in rural India have decreased in the last 5 ears. The FM did not even mention MGNREGA in the entire budget speech. Because during the time of UPA, work was available for 100 days, now it is reduced to only 48 days in a year,” Kharge said.
“This apathetic government has also reduced the spending of the Ministry of Women and Child Development as compared to the total budget. Why has Female Labour Force Participation, which was 30 per cent in 2005, fallen to 24 per cent now? Why did the average GDP Growth rate of the country, which was 8 per cent according to the New Series during Congress-UPA, declined to just 5.6 per cent under Modi Govt?” he asked
The Congress leader alleged that since the Modi government came to power, “only big dreams have been shown to people”.
“Schemes are relaunched by changing names. But it is not told what happened to the old promises. How will the new dreams being shown get fulfilled? Any budget has two aspects: One of which is to provide a status report on the previous years, and the other is to provide a vision for the next year, both of which are missing from this Interim budget,” he alleged.
Presenting the interim Union Budget for 2024-2025 in Parliament, Sitharaman said that the capital expenditure outlay for the next year is being increased by 11.1 per cent to Rs 11,11,111 crore, which would be 3.4 per cent of the GDP.
As per the First Advance Estimates of National Income of FY 2023-24, presented along with the Finance Minister’s speech, India’s Real GDP is projected to grow at 7.3 per cent.
This is also in line with the upward revision in growth projections for FY2023-24 by the RBI (in its December 2023 Monetary Policy Committee meeting) from 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent, prompted by the growth in Q2 of FY2023-24.
Congress leaders have said that the government should look at per capita growth in income and not only at GDP growth. They also said that average GDP growth during Congress-led UPA years was better than that during the rule of the BJP-led NDA

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