Budget 2017 is a complete gimmick, full of rhetoric, says CPI(M)

Mentioning the data from the budget document, Yechury said revenue expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 13.36 percent last year, compared to 12.74 in 2017-18.

Budget 2017 is a complete gimmick, full of rhetoric, says CPI(M)

While commenting on the Union Budget 2017, Communist Party of India-Marxist termed it as contractionary, a complete gimmick and full of rhetoric. CPI(M) stated budget would neither help in expanding domestic demand nor increase employment but burden the people as the government aims at "substantially" hiking indirect taxes to raise resources.

"The Finance Minister has joined the Prime Minister and the BJP President in producing 'jumlas'. And this budget is a classic example of that," party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told.

The budget was "completely opposite" to the recommendations of the latest Economic Survey that the government should consider and bolster domestic demand, Yechury said. "This is a contractionary budget and not an expansionary one. It's a complete gimmick."

Mentioning the data from the budget document, Yechury said revenue expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 13.36 percent last year, compared to 12.74 in 2017-18.

"This year's budget includes the revenue of Railways also, which was not there in 2016-17. So compared to the last budget, the revenue has declined substantially," he observed. The capital expenditure in 2016-17 was 1.86 percent of GDP, this year it is 1.84 percent, including Railways, and 1.51 percent without Railways, the leader said.

While commenting on MGNREGA, Yechury made it clear that last year expenditure was Rs 47400 crore and in this year amount increased to Rs 48000 crore, which is "a cosmetic increase, given inflation, and solely intended to play to the gallery."

Yechury commented on Arun Jaitley's remarks about fiscal consolidation that the fiscal deficit has come down to 3.2 percent from last year's 3.5 percent. "This decline is due to the major hike in excise duty on petroleum products. The revenue receipts have gone up substantially due to this."

"If you are expecting a nine percent less revenue this year and your fiscal deficit is also less, it means that your expenditure has contracted," he said, adding "that's why it is a contractionary budget."

He said the government was aiming to raise revenue to bridge the gap of reduction of direct tax receipts by Rs 20,000 crore by "raising Rs 60,000 crore through a huge hike in service tax, customs and excise duties, thereby imposing the severe burden on the common man."

Referring to demonetisation, Yechury said, "The negative features of it have not been taken into account as the third quarter data have not been dealt with in the budget."

"There is not a single word on recovering the massive NPAs (non-performing assets of banks), though the government would only act against those who have fled abroad," Yechury said, adding that the NPAs amounted to Rs 11 lakh crore while the "entire budget is Rs 24 lakh crore".

"The government does not intend to confiscate the properties of those responsible for these NPAs and duping the banks, but wants to deal only with those who flee to foreign countries."

Yechury also commented on the budget proposal to abolish FIPB that was not just to attract foreign investment but also acted as a regulator. "Now by removing the regulator, the government is allowing FDI increasingly through the automatic route. There will be no further regulation of foreign capital."