New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi slammed the Union Budget for 2014-15 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, saying it has nothing new to offer.
“It is a mere continuation of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s schemes. There is nothing new, they have merely continued our schemes," said Sonia Gandhi.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi echoed similar sentiments and called the Union Budget a laundry list of Rs 100 crore. "The budget is just a laundry list of Rs 100 crore proposals and is all about usurping UPA government ideas," he said."It will not quicken the economic pulse, in fact, it will slow it down," added Rahul Gandhi.
The Union Budget for 2014-15 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament on Thursday left income tax rates unchanged but provided sops to small and marginal assessees by raising the threshold exemption limit from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh and investments under 80C by Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh while promising not to bring tax changes with retrospective effect.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said the finance minister had gone overboard on mindless populism by allocating just Rs 100 crore each to more than 28 schemes. "While there is 12% increase in the allocation for defence, there is no increase in the budgetary provision for health and education and the finance minister has totally neglected women's sector," Singh said.
He said there was nothing extraordinary. "He has spoken of five more IITs and IIMs. The allocation for the purpose is just Rs 500 crore, when an IIT requires Rs 1,500-Rs 2000 crore," he said. Singh said as leader of opposition, Jaitley had demanded that I-T exemption limit be raised to Rs 5 lakh, which he had not been able to fulfill as finance minister. At the AICC briefing, Singh said the budget did have some minimalist attempts at new direction and new aspects, which Congress welcomed cautiously, like increasing FDI in defence and start up fund for village entrepreneurship for rural areas. "But if you see the vast landscape of the budget, it is a reasonless, directionless, impractical and unfeasible document. It is totally disproportionate to all the hype created during their election campaign... Full of sound and fury signifying nothing”.
"If with this mandate you are not able to give a new direction and momentum, can this nation expect better from them in future. From your statements it seemed as if you are going to offer a paradise or a least a mini paradise. At least you could have offered the promised achche din to people," the Congress spokesperson said. He also claimed that almost 90-95% schemes mentioned in the budget were continuation from the UPA regime.