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Slamming the Union Budget 2021-22 presented by the Union Finance Minister today, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that the Budget completely bypasses the education and health sectors, and spells only doom for the poor, middle class and farmers. While the budget has made a beeline to sell all national assets one after the other, there is no plan for increasing spend on welfare schemes that directly target the poor or increasing allocation towards health and education sectors that will form the foundation of true self-reliance or “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

Health

In a statement, Dy CM Mr Sisodia said, “One thing that was obvious during the pandemic was the crumbling public healthcare system of the country. One would have expected the Government to substantially increase the healthcare allocation. Instead, the Union Budget has shockingly reduced the healthcare budget of India by 10% – showing that not a single lesson has been learnt from the Corona pandemic.”

A careful analysis shows that Ministry of Health budget has reduced by 10% (almost Rs 8000 Cr) from RE of 2020-21 to BE of 2021-22 – from Rs 82,445 Cr to Rs 74,602 Cr. Mr Sisodia said, “FM’s announcement of 137% increase in budget for “Healthcare and Wellbeing” is misleading and an attempt to hide the reality that this government doesn’t care for the health of the people. It clubs non-health schemes like clean air programme, water supply programme etc. to show an overall increase in Health expenditure.”

Education

Mr Sisodia said, “Schools and Colleges have been shut for almost one year. This has led to a serious setback in the learning of students. Any government that cares for our children should have provided additional allocation in Education to take care of this loss. What we see is a reduction in Ministry of Education budget by 6% (Rs 6000 Cr) – from Rs 99,312 Cr in BE 2020-21 to Rs 93,224 Cr in BE 2021-22.”

Mr Sisodia also said that “While NEP 2020 promises an allocation of 6% of GDP to Education, the Union Budget has allocated only 0.6% of the GDP to education. This shows the government’s real commitment to education. History tells us that be it a family or the country, only those who invest in the education of their children become “Atmanirbhar”. Reducing spend on Education by Rs 6000 Cr shows that the call for “Atmanirbhar Bharat” was a mere joke.”

Rising Prices and Inflation

Slamming the Budget for inaction on controlling rising prices and inflation, Mr Sisodia said, “There has been an unprecedented rise in the prices of petrol and diesel under the current government. Rising fuel prices also result in high food inflation. In the last year alone, prices of petrol have increased from Rs 75 to Rs 86 a litre – an increase of Rs 11 in just one year. Diesel prices have increased from Rs 68 to 77 – increase by Rs 9. By further adding a cess of Rs 2.5/litre on petrol and Rs 4/litre, the government has shown it doesn’t care for the middle class or the economy.”

Mr Sisodia added, “Prices of LPG in Delhi have increased from Rs 594 in November 2020 to Rs 858 today – an increase by 30% in 3 months. There was no plan, no announcement regarding controlling prices of LPG in the Union budget. Middle class which is still recovering from the income shock of Corona was hoping to receive income tax exemptions from this budget. But no changes were announced by the Central govt on this front.”

Absolutely nothing in this budget for the poor, the unemployed and farmers

Calling out the Union Budget’s lack of concern for the poor, the unemployed and farmers, Mr Sisodia said, “It is well accepted that boosting demand by focusing spending directly on the poor is going to be critical for revival of the economy. But there is absolutely nothing in this budget for poor, the unemployed and farmers. Outlays of several major schemes for the poor and unemployed have been reduced – NREGA reduced by Rs 38,000 Cr, Social welfare schemes reduced by Rs 5000 Cr and even PM Kisan scheme allocation is reduced by Rs 10,000 Cr.”

Mr Sisodia added, “At a time when there is an unprecedented farmer agitation and farm crisis all over the country, the Agriculture Ministry’s budget has been reduced from Rs 1.55 lakh crores to Rs 1.48 lakh crores – a reduction by Rs 7000 Cr. A time when unemployment is at the highest, the budget for Jobs and Skills Ministry has also been reduced from Rs 5400 Cr to 3500 Cr – a reduction of 35%. This shows the government is completely apathetic towards the pain of the jobless.”

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