Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has termed the Union Budget 2023-24 presented by the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Wednesday disappointing and contrary to the expectation of the common masses.
“The budget was a mere artful trickery to achieve the desired ends. There is nothing in this budget for any section of the society including the middle class, poor, youth and farmers,” he said.
The chief minister said nothing has been said in the budget to control rising inflation and unemployment and this budget was completely disappointing and anti-commoner.
He said that the people were still waiting for the ‘Achhe Din’ as lured by the BJP in 2014.
“The Union government has lost its only opportunity to fulfill their announcements as per the promises before the Lok Sabha elections, to be held in 2024. The budget lacks the vision on employment sector and no reasonable thinking has been made in this direction,” he said, adding that there is no mention of urban employment and for farmers expect, raising their loan limit, which will push them more into debt burden.
He further said that there was no announcement for subsidies on the farming tools or fertilizers.
Apart from this there was no addition on MNREGA allocation thereby completely ignoring the rural employment avenues, he added.
“Nothing has been projected for Himachal Pradesh in the budget. There is no allocation for expansion of the rail infrastructure and for the National Highways,” he said, adding that even the changes in the income tax slabs were not upto the expectation of the people, as it has not given any relief to the middle class.
“The middle class is totally disheartened and displeased, as they expected more relief in tax slabs. This was a Budget for making rich gain more and poor the poorest, adding that it was a pro-rich budget. Centre Government should stop this soap opera being repeated since 2014,” said the Chief Minister.
No special grant has been announced for the states under debt burden. Not only Himachal, there were many other states sailing in same boat and reeling under debt. We have inherited the debt burden of around Rs 75000 crore from the previous government besides there was a liability of paying arrears to employees and pensioners amounting to nearly than 11000 crore. He said that there was no mention about reimbursement of GST since June 2022 in the Budget to the small hill States.
“I went through the proceedings and the proposals, made by the previous BJP government in the month of November, with the Union Finance Minster, but was astonished, that despite this, no heed was paid by the elder counterpart of ‘Double Engine Sarkar’ towards the demands”, said the Chief Minister.
This shows the casual approach of the Union government towards the welfare of the state he lamented.
The budget is nothing more than a soap bubble, said the Chief Minister.