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NC, CPI(M) see Budget 2021 as ‘disappointing’

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Budget indifferent towards woes of local businesses: NC; it fails to address economic recession: CPI(M)

Srinagar: National Conference on Tuesday described the Union Budget 2021as “visionless” and bereft of any stimulus package for the country’s poor to overcome the COVID-19 induced economic distress.

The country’s poor have been ignored in the budget, said NC spokesperson in a statement while expressing dismay over lack of incentives in the budget for small-scale industries, tourism sector, farmers and the worker class.

“The MSME sector provides jobs to more people in one way or other than the public and other private sector enterprises. It also absorbs millions of skilled and unskilled laborers. The sector has taken a major hit since the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced in the country. It was expected that the government would provide stimulus to the ailing sector. Unfortunately it has chosen to ignore it. It was expected that the government would embark on a mission of a speedy and effective post-Covid-19 recovery plan,” the spokesperson said.

He said the yearly financial statement wasn’t supposed to be an ordinary one, rather it was meant to be special to help the country’s poor tide over the difficulties induced by the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The major theme of this budget has been the ‘sellout’ of major PSUs and nothing else. The yearly deficit is at an all time low. The budget does not offer anything substantial for creating more jobs in the private sector as well. Farming and allied sectors have been relegated to triviality,” he added.

Alluding to J&K, NC said the budget offers nothing new to J&K and the old initiatives were being resold in new wrappings.

“The proposed gas pipeline was first announced in 2011. The provision of cess on agriculture and horticulture will further aggravate the woes of horticulturalists in Jammu and Kashmir, who are already suffering from losses due to weather vagaries and subsequent clampdown and lockdown. The cess introduced by the ruling BJP will increase inflation of food items and aggravate the plight of already stressed farmers of the country,” he said.

He said the real issues concerning the people in Jammu and Kashmir have been put into a cold storage by the ruling BJP. “The much touted Rs 80,000 cr package announced by the GoI for J&K is yet to see light of the day. There has been no headway on Jhelum flood mitigation plan or upgradation of Mughal road. Work on the Central University and AIIMS is facing inordinate delay as well. The CU of Kashmir continues to work from rented buildings. There is nothing for the ailing tourism, manufacturing, handicrafts and handloom sectors of Kashmir,” NC said.

Meanwhile, stating that Union Budget is a “huge disappointment” for the common people, CPI (M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami Tuesday said that it has failed to address the issue of people’s growing miseries — rising unemployment, hunger, skyrocketing price-rise.

“It has miserably failed to address the economic recession and the issue of sharp fall in the domestic demand due to massive decline in the people’s purchasing power. It has not suggested any effective measures to address the virus of inequality. The job losses in the organized sector are alarming. Massive job loss among the educated young people is disturbing,” Tarigami said in a statement here.

The unemployment scenario in rural India, which was at 9 percent even in December 2020 according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Tarigami said “it is inexcusable that the Finance minister’s speech did not have a single mention of MGNREGS.  Providing employment to the youth has become a chronic issue at the national level and much more so in J&K as it lacks any private sector. The unemployment level in J&K has reached its crescendo.”

Tarigami said that a majority of farmers in India are still outside the procurement network, and are denied access to MSPs while pointing out that the government has announced no plan on how to expand the access of farmers to procurement or MSP.

In fact, the Finance Minister “has tried to mislead by comparing in her budget speech procurement of last year with procurement in 2013-14, when open market prices were higher than the MSP for many crops and farmers did not need to sell the produce to government agencies.

“The Finance Minister has herself stated that only 1.54 crore farmers benefited from MSPs for paddy and wheat in 2020-21. This is an admission that a vast majority of farmers have not benefited from the MSP-based procurement. In fact, its medium-term plan is to reduce procurement, which is visible through its insistence on implementing the three Farm Acts,” the former legislator from south Kashmir’s Kulgam district said.

He also regretted the “drastic cuts in the allocations to various important departments including Agriculture, Education, Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, etc.”

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