Describing the Union budget as confusing and directionless, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Monday said that it has failed to stimulate demand in the economy.
Mitra also criticised the budget claiming that sufficient funds have not been allocated to West Bengal for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating the damage caused by cyclone Amphan.
"There is not a speck to stimulate demand in the economy as seen in the budget. It does not have any macroeconomic rationale and directionless. The only main objective is to sell family silver," Mitra said at a virtual news conference.
He said that he had written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to adopt measures which will lead to demand stimulation.
Money should have been given in the hands of people like other countries have done. On the other hand, the government is trying to sell public assets like railways, airports, ports and also announced divestment of two public sector banks," Mitra said.
He also said that the foreign ceiling on equity investments in insurance companies has been raised from 49 per cent to 74 per cent.
He claimed that devolution of funds till December this fiscal has been Rs 10,000 crore less for West Bengal and there is no reflection of that in the budget.
Mitra said that Sitharaman's budgetary pronouncement that the Centre will provide funds to build 625 kilometres of roads in West Bengal is "a big joke" as the Mamata Banerjee government had already built more than 88,000 kilometres of rural roads and 5,111 kilometres of highways.Expressing disappointment that there is nothing in the budget for MSMEs and the unorganised sector, Mitra said that agriculture has been put under more stress by imposing cess.