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Kumaraswamy slams Budget 2019, says it 'lacks clarity'

Speaking to reporters, Kumaraswamy asked whether the Budget was prepared by the finance department officials or by the RSS

Kumaraswamy slams Budget 2019, says it 'lacks clarity'
Bengaluru, First Published Feb 2, 2019, 11:30 AM IST
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Bengaluru: Lashing out at the BJP-led NDA government, Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy asked if the budget presented on Friday was prepared by the finance department or at the RSS headquarters.

Kumaraswamy termed the newly announced 'Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi' as Prime Minister Narendra Modi government's "cotton candy" to the distress-hit farming community.

He said the "election budget" lacked clarity and need not be taken seriously as the new government that will come in after the election may present a new budget.

"If this Budget is implemented, if at all they (BJP) come back to power again and form the government, under this scheme 59 lakh farmers of our state will get Rs 3,578 crore in one year," Kumaraswamy told reporters in Bengaluru.

"Our government in the state is waiving Rs 48,000 crore farm loan, it will cover 44 lakh farmer families," he added.

Kumaraswamy recalled how Modi had earlier described the Congress-JD(S) government's farm loan waiver scheme as a lollipop for the farmers of Karnataka.

"They are planning to now give 59 lakh farmers Rs 3,578 crore, what should we call it... You can call it Bombay mithai or cotton candy. This is Narendra Modi's programme," he said.

Hitting out at the state government's farm loan waiver scheme, Modi had said "lollipops" were handed out to the farmers and claimed that only 800 farmers had benefited from the scheme.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi announced in the interim budget on Friday, Rs 6,000 will be transferred to bank accounts of farmers holding up to 2 hectares of land in three equal installments.

"Finance department officials prepared the Budget or at RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) or BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) headquarters, I don't know," Kumaraswamy said.

He said the full tax rebate for income up to Rs 5 lakh was expected as it was a long-standing demand after the BJP came to power and they had announced it ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

He claimed that the government had failed in meeting the expectations of the farmers. Terming it an "election budget", Kumaraswamy said, "We need not take it seriously, thinking that it will bring about a drastic change."

"New government that will come in May (will) present a new budget, so this is an election budget, several experts have said this. The state government has no huge expectations from it," he said.

The Budget lacks clarity, and there are no issues in it to be discussed, he added.

Kumaraswamy said no announcement was made concerning suburban railways for Bengaluru in the budget.

"This is the contribution of 17 BJP MPs from the state in the last five years, and I congratulate them on behalf of the people of the state," he said, sarcastically.

"There is no big support for middle class also in the budget, is increasing the slab to five lakh a big thing," he asked.

However, the Karnataka BJP chief and leader of the Opposition BS Yeddyurappa asked the people to celebrate the budget, as he lauded Modi and finance minister Piyush Goyal for the government's initiatives and keeping all sections of the society in mind.

He cited various schemes announced in the Budget including the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, increase in MSP, Kamadhenu Ayog and enhancing income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh.

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