Budget ‘deeply disappointing’, lacked accountability: Anand Sharma

New Delhi: Congress leader Anand Sharma said today that the Union budget was “deeply disappointing” as it lacked accountability of the implementation of the schemes announced by the government.

The Congress leader said the government has announced a number of schemes over the years, but the roadmap for their implementation was not clear. “I will say with sincerity that the budget announcement of yesterday has been deeply disappointing,” Sharma said at an event here.

“There are so many schemes, that neither prime minister (Narendra Modi) nor finance minister (Arun Jaitley) are aware of it. So many announcements (in four years). But what has been their implementation? How beneficial were they? That accountability did not come in the budget,” he said.

Sharma hit out at the prime minister for allegedly claiming from foreign platforms that whatever was happening in the country was “for the first time”. “The talk about a New India. Which New India you are talking about? India is good, it should be developed. Flaw, if there’s any, should be corrected.

No new country is going to take shape. The country will remain the same,” Sharma said. He also criticised the government over alleged poor employment generation. The leader claimed that the schemes such as Skill India, Start Up India and Mudra did not yield results and remained “more of a fiction”.

The former Union minister also picked holes in the government’s budgetary promise of providing insurance coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh to 10 crore poor families and asked “where is the montetary allocation” for it.

The government yesterday announced the world’s largest government-funded health care programme, aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

The National Health Protection Scheme, announced by Jaitley in the Budget will cover approximately 50 crore people. Sharma also expressed concerns over the “change in architecture” with the government allegedly withdrawing from education, health and infrastructure sectors, leading to their likely privatisation.

All the big schemes announced by the government would cost Rs 14.2 lakh crore and it has stated that 12 lakh crore out of that would be borrowed from market, Sharma said.

“Where is the money in the market? We are moving away from state schools, hospitals to private. And this reveals the same mindset that they do not want to build what belongs to the people.

You are forcing people by circumstances that go for the private sector,” he said. Sharma also said that the government becoming completely dependent on private sector was not a “healthy thing”.