Kumaraswamy, K’taka Congress slam budget

Team Udayavani, Feb 1, 2019, 1:45 PM IST

Bengaluru: Hitting out at the BJP-led NDA government, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy asked if the budget presented on Friday was prepared by the finance department or at the RSS headquarters.

Kumaraswamy termed the newly announced ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi’ as Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s “cotton candy” to the distress hit farming community.

He said the “election budget” lacked clarity and need not be taken seriously as the new government that will come in after the election may present a fresh budget.

“If this budget is implemented, if at all they (BJP) come back to power again and form the government, under this scheme 59 lakh farmers of our state will get Rs 3,578 crore in one year,” Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

“Our government in the state is waiving Rs 48,000 crore farm loan, it will cover 44 lakh farmer families,” he added.

Kumaraswamy recalled how Modi had earlier described the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government’s farm loan waiver scheme as a lollipop for the farmers of Karnataka.

“They are planning to now give 59 lakh farmers Rs 3,578 crore, what should we call it… You can call it Bombay mithai or cotton candy. This is Narendra Modi’s programme,” he said.

Hitting out at the state government’s farm loan waiver scheme, Modi had said “lollipops” were handed out to the farmers and claimed that only 800 farmers had benefited from the scheme.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi announced in the interim budget Friday, Rs 6,000 will be transferred to bank accounts of farmers holding up to 2 hectares of land in three equal instalments.

“The budget was prepared by finance department officials or at RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) or BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) headquarters, I don’t know,” Kumaraswamy said.

He said the full tax rebate for income up to Rs 5 lakh was expected as it was a long-standing demand after the BJP came to power and they had announced it ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

He claimed that the government had failed in meeting the expectations of the farmers.

Terming it an “election budget, the chief minister said, “We need not take it seriously, thinking that it will bring about a drastic change.” 

“New government that will come in May (will) present a fresh budget, so this is an election budget, several experts have said this… The state government has no huge expectations from it,” he said.

The budget lacks clarity, and there are no issues in it to be discussed, he added.

Kumaraswamy said no announcement was made with regard to suburban railways for Bengaluru in the budget.

“This is the contribution of 17 BJP MPs from the state in the last five years and I congratulate them on behalf of the people of the state,” he said, sarcastically.

“There is no big support for middle class also in the budget, is increasing the slab to five lakh a big thing,” he asked.

On the other hand, state BJP chief and leader of the opposition B S Yeddyurappa asked the people to celebrate the budget, as he lauded Modi and Finance Minister Piyush Goyal for the government’s initiatives and keeping all sections of the society in mind.

He cited various schemes announced in the budget including the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, increase in MSP, Kamadhenu Ayog and enhancing income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh.

“Piyush Goyal has tabled a historic budget today, this is because of initiatives taken by PM Modi to improve the economic situation of the country. I congratulate Modi and Goyal for this good budget,” he added.

In a series of tweets, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah termed the budget as “anti-farmer and anti-youth.” 

Both these sectors are in complete distress, he said. “There is nothing mentioned in this budget to give solace to them, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has betrayed both these sectors,” he said.

Unemployment was a major concern, he said, adding that no programme has been announced for creation of jobs.

Describing the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi as a copy of ‘Raita Belaku’ programme announced by him in the 2018-19 state budget, the Congress leader said in the programme announced by him Rs 5000 would be given per hectare.

Also noting that farmers have obtained Rs 11 lakh crore farm loan from nationalised banks, Siddaramaiah, who was former state finance minister, tweeted there was expectation that government may waive farmers loan from nationalised banks, but it has turned out be false.

The Congress’ Karnataka unit described the budget “BJP manifesto”, and said Friday was not April 1 to fool people.

“It is not ‘April 1’ today @narendramodi ji and @PiyushGoyal ji, it’s February 1. The budget looks more like BJP Manifesto rather than a budget,” it said.

“You cannot fool people with your nice sentences & never in the history has any one lied so much on the floor. #AakhriJumlaBudget,” it tweeted.

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