New Delhi: Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday tore apart Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for not using the words unemployment, poverty, equity and equality in her budget speech. Mercifully she used the word “poor” twice in her speech, he said.
He said the budget shows the government is out of touch with people and their concerns. Expressing disappointment over the new tax regime, he said the taxpayers only in two slabs will benefit the middle class.
Callous budget that betrayed majority: Chidambaram
This is a callous budget that has betrayed the hopes of the vast majority of the people, he said.
“Who has benefited from this budget? Certainly, not the poor. Not the youth looking desperately for jobs. Not those who have been laid off. Not the bulk of the taxpayers. Not the homemaker. Not the thinking Indians who are shocked by the growing inequality, the rise of the number of billionaires and the wealth being accumulated in the hands of the 1% of the population. Certainly, not you,” Chidambaram underlined.
He said the government is also determined to push the ‘new’ tax regime for which there are very few takers for a variety of reasons. Besides, making the new tax regime the default option is grossly unfair and will rob the ordinary taxpayer of the meagre social security that he may get under the old tax regime.
The government is determined to push the fortunes of GIFT city, Ahmedabad, at the cost of other commercial and financial centres, Chidambaram added.
If all three materialised, what will the government do? What kind of burdens will that place on the people who are suffering owing to inflation and unemployment? There were no answers provided either in the Economic Survey or in the Budget Speech.
The Congress leader asserted that there is no cut in taxes except for a small number who opted for the new tax regime. No indirect taxes have been reduced. There is no cut in the cruel and irrational GST rates. There is no reduction in the prices of petrol, diesel, cement, fertilisers etc. There is no cut in the numerous surcharges and cesses which are, any way, not shared with the state governments.
Chidambaram said the FM has ignored three stark facts acknowledged the world over, namely
1. World growth and world trade will slow down significantly in 2023 (for India, 2023-24).
2. Many advanced economies will go into a recession.
3. The global security situation, thanks to the war in Ukraine, and other brewing conflicts, will deteriorate.
If all the three materialised, what will the government do? What kind of burdens will that place on the people who are suffering owing to inflation and unemployment? There were no answers provided either in the Economic Survey or in the Budget Speech, Chidambaram added.