Khattar hails Union Budget; Congress says 'disappointing'

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Chandigarh, Feb 1 (PTI) Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday said the Union Budget for 2021-22 will lay the foundation for a self-reliant India, a claim junked by the Opposition Congress who dubbed it as disappointing.

Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said the Union Budget completely ignored the state.

Reacting to the Budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Monday, Khattar said it will lay the foundation for a self-reliant India, create infrastructure and generate jobs.

Despite challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the finance minister presented a “very balanced Budget”, he said, adding that it took care of all sections of society with a focus on infrastructure development, health, agriculture and education sectors.

Recounting its key points, Khattar said over 15,000 schools will be strengthened as per reforms proposed in the new National Education Policy (NEP).

This Budget talks of all-round development of all parts of the country, he claimed, adding that it provided for a record increase in allocation for infrastructure building.

While replying to a question on a cess of Rs 2.5 per litre on petrol and Rs 4 per litre on diesel, Khattar said there will be no impact of this on the common man as this has been offset by a reduction of an equivalent amount in the excise duty, making it price neutral for consumers.

He also hailed the income tax relief for those aged 75 or above.

Khattar said the Union finance minister proposed that an agriculture infrastructure fund will be made available to Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) for augmenting their infrastructure.

He said the mandis will be further strengthened and apprehensions of some farmer leaders that these will end are unfounded.

“For our government, a farmer is always above all,” said Khattar in a tweet later while adding that decisions taken in the interests of farmers in the Budget will prove to be important in doubling their income.

The BJP's coalition partner JJP too hailed the Budget with Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala saying it will create new employment opportunities, uplift education, improve health services, bring more improvement in agriculture and strengthen the country's infrastructure.

In a statement here, Dushyant Chautala said a framework has been laid out in a planned way to bring the economy back on the track after it faced challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chautala welcomed the move to set up seven mega textile parks and said the Budget for the MSME sector has been increased while special attention on the development of agriculture and rural areas.

State Health Minister Anil Vij too hailed provisions made for the healthcare sectors.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Budget, state Congress chief Kumari Selja said, “It is extremely disappointing that the Budget does not offer any solution towards increasing growth and consumer demand, and tackling unemployment and farmers' problems.” She claimed that there is nothing for the poor class, Scheduled Castes and women in it.

“This Budget is fully dedicated to the capitalists. There is nothing in this for the common people,” Selja said dubbing the budget as “disappointing”.

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the provisions in the Budget will increase privatisation and inflation.

“The additional tax on petrol, diesel and gas will directly hit the common man,” he claimed.

“The agricultural budget has been reduced from Rs 1.54 lakh crore last year to Rs 1.48 lakh crore, and farmers and middle class were expecting a reduction in taxes on petrol and diesel but the Budget provided no relief,” the Congress leader said in a statement.

He claimed the Centre is moving towards “comprehensive privatisation by handing over government assets one after the other”.

INLD senior leader Abhay Singh Chautala said the government should have said in clear terms that they were going to present a budget “in favour of the capitalists so that farmers and common people would not have pinned their hopes on it”. PTI SUN VSD RDK RDK