Reacting to the Union Budget, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said there is nothing in it to solve the woes of the Covid pandemic and that’s not just for Kerala, but for the country as a whole.
“All was expecting strengthening of the local economy in the light of the pandemic blues which has taken a heavy toll, but what has surfaced in the budget is weakening of the entire system as there is nothing in the budget to seriously address it,” said Vijayan.
He went on to add that there was a demand from all the states to extend the GST compensation from the Centre to be extended for five more years, but nothing is seen on it. “What is seen is the disinvestment in the railway and aviation sector is being strengthened in other areas also, which is a real threat, as the globalisation policies have taken a heavy toll of the people,” said Vijayan.
But he had good words to say on certain policies which were there in the budget, which Kerala has already started, which includes a digital university, online education, M-services, and the optical fibre proliferation which has already commenced in the state. Kerala Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal said more than criticism on the budget, he is sad that the budget does not provide any solace from the pandemic troubles.
“There is a mention of the agrarian sector getting a big allocation, so is the MG-NREGA, but the fact of the matter is the allocation to these two sectors is less than what was there in the last budget. Likewise for vaccines just Rs 5,000 crore has been set aside, which was Rs 39,000 crore in the last budget. This year’s allocation is too less. Meanwhile, from the first look, the budget is very cleverly wrapped as what is for the state and the state’s demands is yet to surface as it will be in the supplementary papers,” said Balagopal.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K. Sudhakaran, also a senior Lok Sabha member said, Sitharaman has wasted one more opportunity to revive the ailing Indian economy. Adding “PM” as prefix and “Shakti” as suffix to every scheme doesn’t help in demand generation. The focus is only tokenism and renaming schemes after the Prime Minister.
Kerala BJP president K. Surendran, however, has welcomed the budget and said it has covered practically every sector and this will lead to overall development of the economy. “Unlike the Congress and the BJP, even with elections round the corner, the government has not come out with any sort of populist schemes meant to please the electorate but concentrated to see it touched all sectors and it’s a pro-poor budget,” said Surendran.