Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said the most worrisome thing about the 2023-24 Union Budget is that it will drown the country in debt.
Sisodia also said the Budget 2023-24 is full gimmicks and is disappointing for Delhi.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament on Wednesday. Continuing the push for capital expenditure to further fuel growth, she raised it by 33 per cent to Rs 10 lakh crore. This amounts to around 3.3 per cent of the Indian GDP.
Criticising the Union Budget 2023-24, Sisodia further said it has nothing for employment generation or controlling inflation and only has announcements for the super-rich class.
In Budget 2023-24, Sitharaman extended the income tax exemption under the new income tax regime to Rs 7 lakh. It is seen as a big relief to the middle class.
Despite Sisodia's criticism of debt, the fiscal deficit of the Union government has come down consistently in recent years and is further expected to come down in the financial year 2023-24. The deficit soared to 9.2 per cent of the GDP —highest of all time— in 2020-21 because of rise in government spending and steep fall in revenue because of Covid-19 pandemic and economic shut-downs. However, the deficit has consistently come down since then.
In 2021-22, the deficit was 6.7 per cent. The Mint reported that the Union government is well on its way to close 2022-23 at a deficit of 6.4 per cent. The fiscal deficit target for the upcoming 2023-24 is 5.9 per cent. The target of the Union government is to bring it down to 4.5 per cent by 2025-26.
Besides Sisodia, other Opposition leaders have also criticised the Union Budget 2023-24.
Politician Yogendra Yadav tweeted, "Expenditure on Agriculture and allied schemes (Including PM Kisan) has been slashed drastically: from 3.84% in BE 2022-23 to 3.20% in 2023-24. Perhaps the most indifferent budget ever for the farmers."
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh compared it with the last year's budget and expressed disappointment.
He tweeted, "Last year's Budget drew applause for allocation towards agriculture, health, education, MGNREGA & welfare of SCs. Today the reality is evident. Actual expenditure is substantially LOWER than budgeted. This is Modi’s OPUD strategy of headline management—Over Promise, Under Deliver."
(With PTI inputs)