Budget addresses aspirations, hopes of everyone, says CM

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Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today termed the Union Budget as a historic document that revolves around the three ideas of aspirational India, economic development and caring society.

He said, “The Budget is aimed at addressing hopes and aspirations of all sections of society. The proposal of 16 actionable plans to enhance the income of farmers is appreciable. Since 90 per cent population of Himachal resides in rural areas with agriculture as their main avocation, these plans will go a long way in strengthening their economy”.

Thakur hailed the proposal for increasing allocation for Himachal Pradesh by 33 per cent. He also appreciated the proposal to simplify personal income tax. “The budget proposals are aimed at making a strong, vibrant, self sustainable and dynamic India. In fact it is like ‘Diwali’ for a common man. The new education policy announced in the Budget will help the nation in regaining the old glory of ‘Vishwa Guru’ as the allocation to the sector has been pegged at Rs 99,312 crore,” he said.

The Chief Minister hailed the proposal for an Investment Clearance Cell for attracting investments to states without delay. This would help Himachal as MoUs worth Rs 1 lakh crore had already been signed, he added.

Thakur said that the state would benefit from the allocation of Rs 6,000 crore for the Bharat Net Programme and the proposal of Rs 3,000 crore for the Skill India programme. He added that the allocation of Rs 45,000 crore to the tourism sector would help states such as Himachal, which have launched various schemes to develop virgin and unexplored places as tourist destinations.

To benefit farmers: Bindal

Rajeev Bindal, BJP state president, said that the Budget would usher in a new chapter in the field of information technology as export parks would be set in every district. “The 16-point programme in the Budget will help in strengthening the communication system and setting up of solar pumps by tapping solar energy is a welcome step,” he added.

He said that the budget gave a thrust to organic farming and the agro-based industry, which would benefit farmers. He added that a major relief has been given to people in income tax.

Anurag has disappointed’

State Congress president Kuldeep Rathore termed the Budget as disappointing and said it only aimed at privatisation, and benefiting private enterprises at the cost of public undertakings. “The Budget is disappointing. It does not offer any solution to unemployment or improving the economy,” he added.

Rathore said that the budget was even more disappointing for the people of Himachal, who had hoped that with Anurag Thakur would do something for them. “The Budget has nothing to offer to Himachal, whether it is expansion of the rail network, setting up airports or giving a fillip to sectors such as tourism and horticulture,” he added.

‘Sick industry ignored’

Virbhadra Singh, former Chief Minister, also called the Budget as disappointing, as it did not offer anything to improve the economy. “Only a person who has a good understanding of the economy can offer solutions to problems like unemployment and improving the growth rate,” he said. He added that industrial growth had been stagnating and the Budget did not talk about the revival of the sick industry. “The thrust of the Budget is to benefit capitalists at the cost of public undertakings,” he said.

Nothing for HP: Agnihotri

Mukesh Agnihotri, CLP Leader, said that even though the Chief Minister and his ministers were camping in Delhi for the last 10 days, there was nothing in the Budget for Himachal. He added that the allocation for roads clearly showed that the highways announced for Himachal would never be completed. “Despite being the Union Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur has failed to give anything to Himachal in the Budget, disappointing the people of the hill state,” he said.

Focus on privatisation: CPM

Sanjay Chauhan, CPM leader and former Mayor, said that the thrust of the Budget was only on privatising health, education and transportation sectors while it left the agrarian crisis untouched. “The entire endeavour of the Narendra Modi government is on privatisation and adopting the private–public partnership (PPP) mode to benefit industrialists,” he added. “The corporate tax has been reduced drastically but no steps had been taken to tackle the economic slowdown,” he said.

Way cleared for sale of PSUs: Cong

Hamirpur: The Union Government had paved the way for selling public sector undertakings in the Budget. Deepak Sharma, former HPCC spokesperson, said the hidden agenda of NDA leaders had been exposed in the Budget as it proposed to run more than 150 trains in the private sector, which would finally result in the sale of the Railways. OC