Oppn expresses concern over falling growth, sliding investment
New Delhi, Feb 10 : Opposition in Lok Sabha on Monday expressed concern over the declining growth and falling investment and asked the government to take corrective measures to arrest the slowdown and generate employment.
Participating in the debate on the Union Budget 2020-21 in Lok Sabha, BJD member B Mahtab called for financial sector reforms to revive rapidly declining investment.
“We are measuring GDP growth… more the investment, the growth would be faster and quicker,” he said, adding that adequate corrective measures were necessary to boost growth which is estimated to slip to five per cent in 2019-20.
Banks were not in a position to lend to infrastructure, Mahtab said and asked the government not to lose sight of wider reforms in the public sector.
“There is a need to bring competition within the banking sector,” he said.
The NCP’s Supriya Sule termed the budget as “long and tiresome” and said it has exposed the failure “of this government when it comes to fiscal health”.
She said the government talks about achieving USD 5 trillion economy but “we are not even barely crossing five per cent (growth)”.
She said the government was talking about bullet train but the fact was not even a single acre of land was acquired for the same.
“They are in a fairy-tale world… they live in a make- believe world,” she said.
Sule said steps were needed for revival of economy and promotion of private sector investment.
Preneet Kaur (Cong) said the presumption of 10 per cent nominal GDP growth and 12 per cent rise in tax collection seems unrealistic given the low economic growth and falling exports.
Agriculture sector seems to be an area of concern, she said, adding Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana needs to be reviewed.
Observing that Indian growth story is at cross-roads, Kaur said that cautious pragmatism has crept in and the country has fallen into the middle income trap.
Shiv Sena member Gajanan Kirtikar regretted that the Budget has accorded “step-motherly treatment” to Maharashtra.
A M Ariff (CPI-M) accused the Centre of ignoring the demands of the Kerala government for funds for meeting natural calamities.
E T Mohammad Basheer (Indian Union Muslim League) said the allocation of funds for minorities have been slashed drastically.
The government is “digging graveyard” for minorities, he alleged.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) also raised the issue of slashing of funds meant for minorities, especially when the literacy rate among them was low.
He said the budget exercise was meant to mislead Parliament and there was nothing in it to revive the economy.
Owaisi said while the prime minister was harping on investment in the infrastructure sector, the allocation for the same was only Rs 12,500 crore.
On the other hand, the budgetary allocation for the Special Protection Group (SPG), which takes care of prime minister’s security, was Rs 600 crore.
Taking a dig at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech, Owaisi said he was reminded of Raj Kapoor, Vyjanthimala and Rajendra Kumar starrer ‘Sangam’ movie which had two intervals.
The Finance Minister’s budget speech continued for more than two hours, the longest ever.
However, BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi said there is a balance between intent and content, and vision and provision in the Budget.
“We have moved from policy paralysis to policy action under the Narendra Modi government,” she said.
The focus is on growth and the Budget will strengthen the foundation of Indian economy in the new decade, she said.
The Budget promotes six major sectors against the backdrop of current economic scenario, she said, adding it will help facilitate investment, spur consumption while giving a push to infrastructure and fillip to agriculture sector.
Observing that this is an age of technology, Sarangi said the Budget has recognised this and made several announcements in this regard.
Technology will help ease living conditions of people, she added.
Rubbishing the opposition claim of reduction in rural Budget, she said the government had always pitched in when there was a need in the past.
On spurring investment, Sarangi said the Budget announcement abolition of Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) which will free up about Rs 25,000 crore for the corporates.
Besides, National Infrastructure Pipeline will promote investment in the infrastructure building.
Sunita Duggal (BJP) said that Vivad Se Vishwas scheme proposed in the Budget would help in substantially reducing litigation in direct taxes.
Others who participated in the discussion were Brijbhusan Sharan Singh (BJP), Krishna Lauv (YSRCP), Nama Nageshwar Rao (TRS).