H.D. Kote: Former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah yesterday criticised the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as ‘Sab ka vinash’ budget for its poor allocation to various sectors such as health, agriculture, education food security and employment generation among others. The former CM also expressed his concern over mounting debts of the country.
Addressing a press meet at Jungle Lodges and Resorts at Karapura yesterday, Siddharamaiah regretted that the allocation for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme had come down by more than Rs. 25,000 crore in comparison to last year even though a large number of people had returned to their villages after losing their jobs in COVID-19.
Pointing out that the Union Finance Minister had presented Rs. 34 lakh crore budget last year, Siddharamaiah said that Rs. 39 lakh crore budget was presented this year and added that the Centre would take a loan of Rs. 11,87,000 crore for the next year’s budget.
Stating that there was a debt of Rs. 135 lakh crore on the country last year, he said that there was a debt of Rs. 53 lakh crore during the term of Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister till he stepped down, Siddharamaiah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi in just eight years had taken a loan of Rs. 93 lakh crore and has to pay Rs. 9,40,000 crore as interest every year.
With a large number of small industries shutting down, unemployment in the country is rising. The Budget neither offers any programmes to revive the small industries nor offers any solution to the problem, he regretted.
The former CM trained his guns on the Budget for not setting aside sufficient funds for the health sector despite threat of COVID-19 continuing to linger. Last year during 2021-22, the Government had allocated Rs. 82,920 crore for the health sector. But, this year 2022-23, the allocation is only Rs. 83,000 crore, which is an increase of barely Rs. 80 crore.
Also, he said that the corporate bodies tax had come down from 30 per cent to 22.5 percent, but prices of essential items such as petrol, diesel, gas, steel, and fertilisers continue to increase. “The corporate sector has become the priority of this Government”, he said. MLAs Anil Chikkamadu and H.P. Manjunath, former MLA M.K. Somashekar, District Congress President Dr. B.J. Vijaykumar and others were present at the press meet.