Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot
| Photo Credit: PTI
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on February 1 criticised the Union Budget for neglecting the important areas of education, health and social justice and reducing the allocation by 33% for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), which had proved to be a lifeline for the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Gehlot said the Budget was against the poor, landless farmers and common people.
“Only headline-making hollow announcements have been made in the Budget… The provision for agriculture and farmers’ welfare is 6%, or ₹7,500 crore, less than the previous year. Similarly, there is a reduction of 15%, or ₹23,000 crore, in the subsidy for urea,” Mr. Gehlot said while reacting to the Budget.
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The negligible increase in the budgetary allocations for education, health and women and child development had shown that these areas would remain neglected, Mr. Gehlot said. Besides, the life of the common man would become even more difficult in the absence of any policy statement for reducing inflation, he added, while pointing to the spiralling prices of essential commodities.
The senior Congress leader said the Budget was “very disappointing” for Rajasthan, as the demand for giving national status to the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP), which would benefit 13 districts through interlinking of three rivers, had not been accepted. The project was directly related to the development of the State, he said.
“The Narendra Modi government has sanctioned ₹5,300 crore as an additional assistance to Karnataka for the Upper Bhadra Project, keeping the elections in mind. This shows the Centre’s step-motherly treatment towards Rajasthan,” Mr. Gehlot said.
Mr. Gehlot said the people of Rajasthan would give a “befitting reply” for the treatment meted out to them at the appropriate time.