Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on Monday criticised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that despite India being one of the fastest growing economies, jobs and welfare benefits for the people are not at the desired level.
‘’This budget lacks flavour as it does not have any specific announcements of schemes which would have enthused different segments including the states,’’ she said.
‘’It also does not speak of the status of implementation of many schemes announced last year and the year before. The people of the State of Tamil Nadu had still higher expectations, which have
not been met,’’ she added.
She cited the ‘tendency to levy cesses and surcharges on various items of central taxes which are not shareable with the states’ to be retrograde measures and ways by which the Centre is trying to avoid sharing its tax proceeds with States.
On Tax proposals, she slammed Jaitley’s budget to be ‘regressive’ with Direct Tax concessions amounting to Rs.1060 crores mostly due to Corporate Income Tax concessions, while indirect taxes worth Rs.20,670.
However, Jayalalithaa said she was happy as Finance Minister accepted her suggestion to do away with the Plan and Non-Plan distinction with effect from 2017-18 onwards and instead focus on the revenue and capital outlays.
Mentioning agriculture and rural income are welcome features, she cautioned, ‘’Doubling farm incomes in five years is a laudable objective, but it should be done in real terms.’’
Speaking of Tamil Nadu, she said Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) would not serve the purpose as the state have already virtually exhausted the surface water irrigation potential. Instead, she opined incentives for drip and micro irrigation would have been a more welcome move.
She pointed out although Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was a welcome move, allocation of Rs.5,500 crores for crop insurance was grossly inadequate.
She mentioned newly launched schemes like the National Rural Digital Literacy Mission, Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadi Yojana, Health Protection Scheme were already in sync with some of the initiatives launched by her.
She opposed the proposal to privatise the Road Transport Sector through a Central legislation by amending the Motor Vehicles Act and 100 per cent FDI for marketing food products produced in India.
She called for more co-ordination with the state government and greater sensitivity to state specific issues for infrastructural projects.
She further welcomed the proposal to establish a new credit rating system for infrastructure.