Taking a dig at the centre's decision to push for privatisation of public sector entities, many Congress leaders on Monday said Budget 2021 was a case of "selling family silver". They accused the government of being incompetent and "directionless", adding that the budget had failed to address the pressing the problem of declining GDP, or how to revive demand or create jobs.
The Congress also raised the issue of tax slabs remaining unchanged - a reform many had looked forward to.
"This BJP government reminds me of the garage mechanic who told his client, 'I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder'," senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted.
This BJP government reminds me of the garage mechanic who told his client, “I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder.” #Budget2021— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 1, 2021
In a long threat of posts, deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said the Budget 2021 was a missed opportunity in which Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could have "extended help to the poor and working class", but she continued with the "government's rhetoric".
"Transfer of money to economically weaker sections and poor was a must... The sale of profit making PSUs like LIC and GIC is against broader national interests," he wrote.
He also backed former finance minister P Chidambaram's view. Mr Sharma added that the economy would not follow a V-shaped but a K-shaped recovery "because many sectors continue to be under severe stress".
#Budget2021 is disappointing as it is without a roadmap for accelerating growth & revival of consumer demand. The FM could have been brave but chose to be timid. The nation needed a bold budget & more direct transfers to the weaker sections to revive demand, restart job creation.— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) February 1, 2021
"Budget of the century will be remembered as blunder of the century," wrote Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill, adding that the Finance Minister, who referenced India's Gabba win in her speech, had been "hit out at zero".
"It has left the middle class bruised and wounded by not changing tax slabs, not increasing deductions, not making new deduction slots like home loans, not bringing fuel under GST, not sharing Rs 19 lakh-crore gain from fuel taxes, not reducing GST rates. Common Man cheated and betrayed!" he wrote in a series of tweets.
He also highlighted that little attention had been paid to the farm sector.
BJP Govt reading laundry list of hollow reforms in agri sector is case of failed student reading his/her forged report card; Budget failed to increase MSP, no increase in meagre allocation under KisanSammanYojna,no loan waiver-Farmer continues to get stabbed by Kisan Virodhi BJP— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) February 1, 2021
Congress MLA and former minister Manish Tiwari said the budget was a "talkathon" by Mr Sitharaman "oblivious" to the problems of "growth rate of GDP being in a record 37th month decline".
"(This is the) worst crisis since 1991 (when the Indian economy was opened up). Except for a National Monetisation Plan - short hand for National Sell (Plan) - there is no central focus in the budget. Bottom line - it will not grow economy, but sell the family silver," he tweeted.
(With input from PTI)