Hemant Soren, the chief minister of Jharkhand, said that the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday “cut the pockets of the poor” and “added convenience to the moneybags.” Soren criticised the Centre for not meeting the needs of tribals, Dalits, backwards, farmers, youth, women, and workers, among others.
Soren said that new railway lines and trains didn’t help Jharkhand, even though the state made the “maximum profit” per kilometer of rail line.
“It hasn’t been talked about to raise the MSP. I think that they (the Central Government) have accepted that farmers’ incomes will double just because they say it over and over again without doing anything to make it happen. People thought that special plans would be made for health care, education, and jobs, which were the areas most affected by the Corona pandemic. But, despite what people thought, the budget was cut for health care, and MNREGA, which helps people in rural India, was also cut. “It’s worrying that the budget doesn’t say anything about jobs, unemployment, inflation, etc.,” the chief minister said.
The Centre cut funding for its main programme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), by 21.6%. For the next financial year, the government has set aside Rs 60,000 crore for the scheme. This is less than the Rs 73,000 crore budgeted for the last financial year.
Jean Dreze, a development economist, also said that the Centre was bad because it hurt social security programmes. He said, “Once again, the Budget hurts important social security programmes like MGNREGA, the National Social Assistance Programme, child nutrition programmes, and maternity benefits.” In real terms, the amounts given to all of these schemes have gone down. The total amount spent on these schemes as a share of GDP is lower than it has ever been in the last 18 years.