Union Budget has no vision, says Karnataka CM

Bengaluru: Dubbing the Union Budget for fiscal 2018-19 anti-people and anti-growth, Karnataka Chief Minister on Thursday said it had no vision or direction.

“The central Budget presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley lacks vision and direction. Its proposals are disappointing, as they have nothing for the farmers, the poor and the common man,” said Siddaramaiah in a statement here.

Accusing the NDA government of making false promises to woo the electorate ahead of the next parliamentary elections in 2019, the Chief Minister said the Budget failed to address the agrarian crisis in the country, especially in the southern state, which faced drought over the last three years.

“There is no relief for farmers in distress due to crop loss or declining prices for their produce in the market. The Budget has no waiver on short-term crop loans raised by farmers from state-run banks,” lamented Siddaramaiah.

On the National Health Protection Scheme, the Chief Minister said the ambitious programme was announced without adequate budgetary allocation to sustain it.

“The health insurance scheme has been announced without allocating enough funds to help the poor and the deprived bear the cost of treatment in state-run or private hospitals,” he asserted.

The flagship scheme proposes to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families or about 50 crore beneficiaries without providing coverage up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

“When a similar healthcare scheme, announced in the last year (2017-18) budget, is yet to be implemented, the Ayushman Bharat programme will suffer a similar fate this year,” asserted Siddaramaiah.

The Chief Minister, who also holds the finance portfolio and presented a record 14 state budgets since 1995, said the Budget had no proposals for addressing the mounting unemployment problem in the country.

“The BJP-led NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to create two crore jobs every year, but no word about it in the Budget.