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Last Updated : Jul 05, 2019 06:42 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Budget 2019 'lacklustre, uninspiring', PM Modi not ready to bite bullet on radical reforms: P Chidambaram

Other senior Congress leaders, including the party's leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and its chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala also criticised the budget

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Reacting to the 2019-20 Budget, former finance minister P Chidambaram on July 5 called it "insipid, lacklustre, nondescript, uninspiring & directionless".

"There is nothing in the Budget that explains how you are going to reverse the slide in agriculture," Chidambaram said, adding that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given no meaningful relief to any section of  society.

"The Modi government treats India as one big state government and has taken upon itself to do things that are the right and duty of state governments. This is not cooperative federalism, it is an unequal partnership imposed by the Centre upon state governments," Chidambaram said while addressing a press conference.

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Stating that while PM Narendra Modi is willing to do incremental reforms, Chidambaram said he is unwilling to undertake "radical reforms".

Also Read | Budget 2019: Key takeaways from FM Nirmala Sitharaman's maiden Budget

"It is clear that while the economists are advocating structural reforms, those in the government do not believe in it," the senior Congress leader said.

In this year's Budget, the finance minister hiked the tax on petrol and diesel, raised import duty on gold, levied additional surcharge on the super rich and brought a tax on high value cash withdrawals as she sought to spur growth with reduction in corporate tax and sops to housing sector, start-ups and electric vehicles.

Talking about additional taxation on the super rich, Chidambaram said it is "unclear whether the effective tax rate has been increased from three percent to seven percent, or by seven percent".

Taking potshots at the government's decision to keep the Budget documents in four-fold red cloth— called the 'bahi khata'— instead of a briefcase, Chidambaram said a finance minister belonging to the Congress party "will in future bring an iPad".

Other senior Congress leaders, including the party's leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and its chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, also criticised the Budget, calling it "old wine in new bottle".

Earlier on July 4, after the tabling of the pre-budget Economic Survey, Chidambaram had said the government appears to be "pessimistic about the economy".

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First Published on Jul 5, 2019 06:42 pm
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