Udayavni Special

Fadnavis hails budget, Sena seeks gold import duty cut


PTI, Jul 5, 2019, 5:15 PM IST

Mumbai/Nagpur: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Friday termed the Union Budget for 2019-20 as “visionary”, while the ruling coalition partner Shiv Sena hailed it but called for reduction of import duty on gold. Opposition leaders said the budget was confusing and did not address price rise, unemployment, farm distress and black money.

“This is a visionary budget which will steer India with even greater speed towards 5 trillion dollar economy! The very fact Modi ji’s Govt could add a trillion dollar in just 5years makes it more achievable!” Fadnavis tweeted.

“Banking reforms continue! Rs 4 lakh crore NPAs realised and with new provisions to help NBFCs, more liquidity will be available for businesses,” the chief minister noted.

State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told PTI that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had presented a budget which “respects” the poor, farmers and women. The BJP ally Shiv Sena’s spokesperson Manisha Kayande called the budget “all-inclusive and balanced”.

“It gives priority to the rural economy…Plus, a woman minister presented the budget which was a proud moment,” Kayande said, also praising the provisions for education and railways.

The Sena leader, however, said the proposed increase in import duty on gold and precious metals from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent should be reduced “as gold has emotional value attached to it in our country”. Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil called the budget “confusing”.

“There is no clarity about which sector it wants to prioritise. It was expected that hefty funds would be made available for the already existing agriculture-related schemes,” Patil, a former state finance minister, tweeted. Sitharaman was expected to address the issue of price rise keeping in mind the concerns of women but in vain, he said.

“It was expected that there would be something in the budget at least that would speed up the development growth engine, but nothing of that sort has happened. Instead, this budget will retard the natural growth process,” he said.

The finance minister appeared “clueless” about what was needed to be done to strengthen the economy, he added. The BJP-led government which boasted about bringing black money back from abroad was mum on the issue in the budget, Patil said.

His NCP colleague and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde alleged that the budget offered nothing to Maharashtra. “Privatisation” of railways through the public private partnership model will make rail travel costlier, he said.

“The country’s economy hasn’t yet got back on track post uncalled for demonetisation and unfathomable implementation of GST. Prices are rising, unemployment growing. Industries, trades, businesses are collapsing. Banks are in loss, the government has failed in finding headway from this,” Munde tweeted.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said Rs 1 cess on diesel and petrol would pinch the common man. Leader of opposition in the Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar said the increase in petrol prices will bring about price rise. “There are no special provisions for farmers and the unemployed. The common man will not get anything,” the Congress leader said in Nagpur.

State Congress chief Ashok Chavan called the budget “pro-rich” and disappointing for farmers and the middle class. “Instead of bringing the economy on track, the budget has put it deeper in the quagmire,” the former chief minister said.

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