Opposition targets govt on inflation, unemployment issues in Lok Sabha

Hitting out at the government, Opposition members on Wednesday in Lok Sabha claimed that the rate of unemployment in the country had increased and more people were pushed into poverty due to its “flawed” economic policies.

Initiating the debate on the Union Budget, Gaurav Gogoi, the deputy leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, said the government has failed to rein in inflation and its policies, outlined by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will “benefit companies on Dalal Street and not the common people”.

Taking a swipe at the government, Gogoi said he would give an ‘A’ rating to the Union Budget but it is not the “A rating we used to get in school”, and added that he was referring to a corporate group.

Every announcement made in the Union Budget was for the benefit of a particular corporate group and there was “nothing for the common people”, Gogoi claimed.

The Congress member said the government has announced capital expenditure to the tune of Rs 10 lakh crore of which nearly Rs 5 lakh crore was for infrastructure projects such as highways, railways and airports.

“The government will build assets with public money only to be monetised later to crony capitalists,” he said.

Gogoi said there was no additional allocation for public sector undertakings that pay dividends to the government.

The government has not made adequate allocation for the armed forces to deal with the challenge posed by China, he alleged.

The air force has been demanding 42 squadrons of fighter jets, INS Vikrant (aircraft carrier) needed fighter jets, there is a need for more Sukhoi jets, but there was no adequate allocation for this in the budget, the Congress member claimed.

Gogoi claimed that at a time when the world was decreasing its dependence on China, India’s imports from the eastern neighbour were on the rise.

He stressed on the need to invest more to strengthen the manufacturing sector, higher education and science.

DMK member T R Baalu highlighted the government’s emphasis on job creation and doubling farmers’ income by 2022, and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promises to do everything, but is found wanting on deliverables.

The allocations for the vulnerable sectors and the rural jobs scheme MGNREGA have been slashed, Baalu said.

The DMK leader said the middle-class was bearing the brunt of high inflation, absence of employment opportunities and lack of income.

BJP member PP Chaudhary lauded the Budget presented by Sitharaman and said it was a prudent document that addressed concerns of all sections of society.

Citing a survey, he also claimed that the prime minister’s popularity was at an all-time high with 78 per cent approval rating, which was far better than US President Joe Biden.

Chaudhary said Biden’s approval rating was 40 per cent.

Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day on Wednesday evening for a lack of quorum and the discussion on the general budget will continue on Thursday.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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