Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday welcomed the “pro-poor, pro-farmer and pro-common man” interim Union Budget 2019-20, which the Opposition denounced as a mere “gimmick” ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress dubbed the budget as the BJP’s “jumlebaz (filled with gimmicks) manifesto” for the polls, while the NCP termed it a “lollipop”.
Attacking the government for not announcing farm loan waiver, the opposition parties alleged that since it had not offered anything to the people in its previous budgets, it has now made populist announcements to assuage prevailing dissent among the public.
Reaching out to a large electorate ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the government Friday announced a cash dole for small farmers, a mega pension scheme for the unorganised sector and doubled the threshold tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said Rs 6,000 per year cash support will be given to small and marginal farmers. He also announced a new scheme to provide unorganised workers with up to Rs 15,000 monthly income an assured pension of Rs 3,000 per month after 60 years of age.
“A Pro-worker, pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-villager & truly pro-common man budget ! Thank you Hon PM @narendramodi ji & Union Minister @PiyushGoyal ji for series of historic decisions in your continuous efforts for better living to the last person of the society! #BudgetForNewIndia,” Fadnavis tweeted.
The leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil claimed that the announcements the government had made in its previous five budgets were yet to become a reality.
“The ruling party has realised that people won’t vote for it as they have been disenchanted. Hence, the populist announcements (are meant) to allay the dissent among the people ahead of the polls and avoid its imminent defeat,” the Congress leader said in a statement, terming the budget as “meaningless”.
He accused the government of proffering cash dole of Rs 6,000 per year per farmer to hide its failure in “doubling the income of farmers as claimed”.
“The farmers would have benefited had the government announced farm loan waiver in entirety,” he said.
NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik echoed a similar view.
“FM @PiyushGoyal started his #Budget2019 speech with the report card of the government and handed lollipops to #MiddleClass and #Farmers with an eye on forthcoming #LokSabhaElections2019. Farmers were demanding #LoanWaiver and double income but all they got was a lollipop,” Malik tweeted.
He questioned why there were no provisions meant for the landless farmers.
“Tax relief provided at the end of 5-year term? All this because they are staring at defeat in #LokSabhaElections2019. Overall a #Lolipop #Budget,” he said on the micro-blogging site.
The leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde termed the budget as a “poll gimmick”.
“The government has failed miserably in washing its sins committed in the past four years. This is the ‘last’ budget of the Modi government,” Munde said.
Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil dubbed the budget as “mere eyewash and disappointing” and one that offers nothing to the youth and women.
“The government could have increased the income tax ceiling to Rs 8 lakh, but it kept it to Rs 5 lakh,” Patil observed, adding that the fiscal plan gave “no relief” to the commoners.
FM @PiyushGoyal started his #Budget2019 speech with the report card of the government and handed lollipops to #MiddleClass and #Farmers with and eye on forthcoming #LokSabhaElections2019.
Farmers were demanding #LoanWaiver and double income but all they got was a lolipop (1/2)
— Nawab Malik (@nawabmalikncp) February 1, 2019