Opposition slams Budget 2018, terms it 'jumlanomics', 'big bluff'

Media personnel seek Congress President Rahul Gandhi reaction to the Union Budget 2018-19 after it was presented in the Lok Sabha by Union minister Arun Jaitley, at Parliament in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Opposition parties including Congress, CPI-M and Trinamool Congress on Thursday slammed the Union Budget as "jumlanomics" and "big bluff" and said the Modi government was still promising fair price to farmers despite being in office for nearly four years.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had made "fancy" announcements with no matching funds.


4 years gone; still promising FARMERS a fair price.

4 years gone; FANCY SCHEMES, with NO matching budgets.

4 years gone; no JOBS for our YOUTH.

Thankfully, only 1 more year to go.#Budget2018

— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) February 1, 2018

Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram held a press conference and termed the promised Rs 500,000 national health protection scheme coverage scheme for Rs 100 million families a "jumla".

He said there was "tokenism" on creating jobs, nothing to indicate rise in farmers income, no tax relief to the average tax payer and no measures to boost exports. He also expressed his deep disappointment about some major schemes having reduced outlays.

Referring to the national health protection scheme, he said it will entail huge expenditure but no money has been provided for it by the government.

"The promise of Rs 500,000 per family for secondary and tertiary healthcare is a big jumla. The target group is 100 million families. Assuming each family will avail of Rs 50,000 - one tenth of Rs 500,000 - the amount required per year will be Rs 5 trillion," he said.

He said if the insurance companies will foot the bill, the estimated premium at Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 per family will require an outgo from Rs 500 billion to Rs 1.5 trillion per year. "Is the Finance Minister serious?" he asked.


The Congress leader said he did not hear any measures to boost exports. On the promise to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of crops 1.5 times, he said there were no details.

"There is nothing to indicate that farmers real income will rise. The agriculture distress will continue and deepen," he said.

Referring to jobs, Chidambaram said that Jaitley had no new ideas and "has fallen back on tried and failed Mudra scheme".

He said there was nothing in the Budget to boost private investment.

Chidambaram said there is no tax relief to the average tax payer and only corporates with income up to Rs 2.5 billion get tax relief of five percent.

In Kolkata, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the Union Budget as a "big bluff", "anti-people" and "very disappointing".

"The BJP-led government in Delhi is unfit to govern. It is a budget which is neither here, nor there," she said.

Questioning the proposals for farmers mentioned in the budget, Banerjee said: "There is no mechanism. Has any fund been allotted for farmers? No."

Party MP Derek O'Brien termed the budget was a "big bluff show" and "super-flop show" with no mechanism to implement the announcements.

"People have lost their trust" in the BJP-led government and "its credibility is now zero with today's budget. It is clear that all sections are displeased, disappointed, angry: the unemployed, the farmers, the youth, SC/ST, majority, minority," he said.

AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also termed the budget as "disappointing."

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury termed the budget as "Jumlanomics. Spin and Slogans, not substance".

In a series of tweets, he accused the government of abandoning state responsibilities towards health and education and hiking cess.

"Modi government's last full budget is a textbook exercise in post-truth: Unconnected to ground realities. Promise of increasing farmers' income remains unfulfilled. The input costs conveniently ignore the rising costs of petroleum/diesel."

Referring to fuel prices, he said: "Excise duty reduced by 2% i.e. Rs 2 less per litre, but hiked cess per litre from Rs 6 to Rs 8. Petrol prices which were Rs 67.71 on 1/12/2017, are now Rs 74.20 on 15/01/2018."

"Fraud of MSP only for Kharif i.e. Elections: Cost of production used by government does not include costs of family labour and land rent, which is the global norm. We reiterate our demand for bringing a law giving farmers the right to Sell at MSP," he added.


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