Ex-Finance Minister P Chidambaram Targets Centre Over Interim Budget

The Congress leader also mentioned that achieving the 'boasts' is not possible with the limited funds allocated to education and healthcare sectors.
Former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram called out the Centre after the interim budget was placed in the Parliament today
Former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram called out the Centre after the interim budget was placed in the Parliament today

After the release of the interim budget 2024-25, the Congress criticized the BJP-led central government, claiming that it has undermined federalism in recent years.

Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram stated that while the Finance Minister mentioned 'minimum government' and 'maximum governance', the actual implementation of 'minimum government' has weakened federalism.

Addressing a press conference, Chidambaram said, "The FM spoke about minimum government and maximum governance. The minimum government policy, in reality, has undermined federalism. Staffed state governments with funds and virtually reduced the third tier of governance, panchayats and municipalities, to cyphers. The overwhelming majority of people are dependent on the third tier of government for their services but that tier has been virtually deprived of human and financial resources."

"Federalism has been considerably weakened by the central government," he added.

The veteran Congress leader further said, "The FM did speak about the GDP, but she did not speak about per-capita income. She spoke about free grain for 80 crore people, but she did not speak about India's rank in the global hunger index or widespread malnutrition among children."

P Chidambaram mentioned that Sitharaman 'barely' spoke about inflation.

"She (Nirmala Sitharaman) barely referred to inflation, but she did not refer to the fact that food inflation is currently 7.7%. The real wages for casual workers have stagnated for four years and the fact that there is an increase in the proportion of workers dependent on agriculture," he said.

"The boast about establishing numerous education institutions and aims like hospitals must be pitted against the fact that thousands of teaching posts are vacant in central universities and central government-established institutions. The new hospitals do not have sufficient nurses, doctors, supporting medical staff or equipment," Chidambaram added.

The Congress leader also mentioned that achieving the 'boasts' is not possible with the limited funds allocated to education and healthcare sectors.

"The allocation in the 2024-25 budget for health is 1.8% and for education, it is 2.5% of total expenditure. None of the boasts can be accomplished with such low expenditure," he said.

Earlier today, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the Interim Budget 2024, expressing optimism that the effective policies and government initiatives will pave the way for the BJP to secure a third consecutive term in power.

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