No new take aways from ‘political’ General Budget: Chidambaram

New Delhi : Former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said the reforms as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was missing in the ‘political’ General Budget for the next fiscal, adding there is no new take aways.

Chidambaram said the BJP-led NDA regime has followed its own brand of budget making.

“One big take away from the budget is that there is no new idea. I am happy that UPA schemes are being continued in the agriculture sector, but the crucial problem is price. There is no major initiative in increasing productivity of crucial crops,” Chidambaram told the media here.

He further stated that the budget gave no relief to the tax payer or to the middle class.

“The government is boasting that they collected more tax than ever. It was only due to excise on crude and not from corporate tax. Clearly, the budget was expected to be political and I am not surprised. The government has wisely refrained from predicting the growth rate for 2016-17,” Chidambaram said.

“The crucial point in agriculture is price. Last year, I think the farmers were cheated. In many cases there was very poor increase in the Minimum Support Price, in some cases there was zero increase in it. Pro-poor and all are catch-all phrases, I want to know who is happy? Tax payers? Market? The middle class? I don’t think so,” he added.

The former finance minister also said that if the government has abandoned the Gujarat model then the Congress should welcome it wholeheartedly.

“I don’t think the government has yet come to grips with the problems of key sectors like steel, coal, oil and gas, cement etc.,” he added.

Presenting his third successive Budget in the Lok Sabha today, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley listed nine thrust areas of tax proposals to transform India.

To provide relief to small tax payers, he proposed to raise the ceiling of tax rebate under section 87A from Rs. 2,000 to five thousand for income not exceeding Rs. 5 lakh.

Two crore tax payers will get a relief of Rs. 3,000. Additional deduction of Rs. 36,000 a year is proposed for those who do not own any house or get any house rent allowance.

They will get an exemption upto Rs 60,000 now. Presumptive taxation extended to professionals with gross receipts up to Rs. 50 lakh.(ANI)