Union Budget 2016-17: Manmohan, Chidambaram dub budget as "wasted opportunity"

29 February 2016

Top leaders of Congress and former finance ministers Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram downplayed the proposals in the Union Budget describing it a "wasted opportunity" with lack of vision and "just housekeeping and accounting".

Manmohan Singh said there is "no big idea" in the annual exercise, while Chidambaram alleged that in the last two years, the government had turned its back on rural India, the agriculture sector, and the social sector programmes.

"After listening to the budget speech or after reading the text, what is the one big takeaway for the average citizen? It is that there is no big idea. This is the third budget of the NDA government. The first two were forgettable. The prime minister had promised that he would "reform to transform".

"The word 'reform' is a little understood but much used word. Reform means reform of factor markets or product markets. There is little evidence of such reform in the budget. So, the NDA has followed its own brand of budget making, which is just housekeeping and accounting," he said.

Former information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari on Twitter termed the budget "high on rhetoric, flawed on comparison, low on imagination, and bereft of ideas."

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi reminded the Modi government that it had "mocked" Congress earlier on MGNREGA as the government today increased the allocation of rural job flagship scheme launched by UPA government 10 years back by over Rs3,800 crore in 2016-17.

"Modiji spent the first two years mocking the Congress Party's focus on farmers, MNREGA, Rural development and social spending.Now mere rhetoric, without vision or action," Gandhi said.

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