Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said on Wednesday that the Union Budget had created an impression that it was presented for the development of the BJP-ruled States, especially those that are going to polls this year.
In a statement, he said that as usual, the Budget was a great disappointment for the people of Tamil Nadu. “There is no allocation even for the AIIMS in Madurai. The Budget has failed to address the issue of unemployment and inflation and has not offered any constructive measures for fiscal federalism. It is not offering any hope to the people on the margins and the middle class,” he said.
Mr. Stalin said that though it had created the impression that there were new schemes, it was regrettable that there was no separate fund for the schemes in the Budget presented by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
He said that though there were some welcome announcements, such as changes in the income tax slabs and the creation of nursing colleges at 157 medical colleges, in reality the changes in the income tax slabs would benefit only those migrating to the new tax regime. “It should be applicable to the old regime also,” he said.
Describing the “welcome features” like establishment of nursing colleges in 157 existing medical colleges, interest free loans to states for capital expenditure and priority to infrastructure development as a consolation, Stalin said that the changes proposed in individual income tax payment under the new tax regime would only benefit a section of the people and hence the changes must be extended to the people subscribing to the old tax regime.
He also remarked that the Budget has deviated from the concept of it catering to all states by rejecting the proposal of states like TN, which sought an extension of GST compensation period by another two years, and allocating funds and schemes targeting election bound states.
Stating that the states would not realise the full benefits of capital loans owing to umpteen conditions imposed in availing them, the Chief Minister said that the scheme must facilitate states to avail capital loans to develop infrastructure as per their requirement, including replacement of old buses with new ones to encourage public transport.
Describing the Rs 10,000 crore budgetary allocation for Urban Infrastructure Development Fund as highly inadequate, he said that though the allocation for PM Housing Scheme has been increased from Rs 48,000 crore to Rs 79,500 crore, the Union government must increase the unit cost of a house and its contribution to the scheme in accordance with the rising costs as the existing formulae would cause financial burden to the states.
Cautioning that the proposed Results Based Financing of the Union government schemes on pilot basis would be exploited as a tool to deny the rightful share of financial resources to states, stalin asked the Union government to consult the states and implement it after suitable amending it to prevent such denial of fund sources to states.