Ahmedabad: Reacting sharply to the state budget for 2015-16 presented in the Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday, Gujarat Congress leaders criticised the budget provisions as misleading, deceptive and having no concrete plan to fulfil expectations of the people.
Business leaders also described the budget as an "average and a routine" one.
Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela alleged that the BJP-led Gujarat government has failed to address crucial problems faced by people in its budget, such as affordable housing, improvements needed in law and order, as well as quality of education.
"This budget is totally directionless, deceptive and nothing more than jugglery of figures. It has poured cold water on people's expectations. The government has no concrete plan about how to reduce state deficit, which runs into more than Rs 2 lakh crore," Vaghela said.
"This budget provides no solution to some of the most burning problems, such as reviving 60,000 sick industrial units, improvement in law and order situation, pending electricity connection to nine lakh farmers, building affordable houses and completing Narmada canal project," Vaghela said.
Similarly, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Arjun Modhwadia said the Gujarat government has presented a budget which failed to fulfil promises made by the BJP before Assembly Elections.
"In 2012, BJP promised to provide 50 lakh affordable homes and came to power. After more than two years, for the sake of mentioning, they mentioned in the budget that they will build two lakh houses. This is their strategy to deprive people of houses," Modhwadia said.
"Though crude prices have significantly come down, people of Gujarat do not get any benefit because the government is not ready to reduce VAT. Though there is a long pending demand to reduce VAT on fertilisers, there is no mention of it in this budget," Modhwadia said.
Even the leaders of the industry didn't seem very happy with the budget. A Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) press release issued here today said that the budget is just "average".
"This budget can be considered average. It focuses mainly on the social sector, health and other medical services. Looking at average provisions made for the industry sector, we doubt if Gujarat can achieve any significant milestone under Make In India," GCCI president Rakesh Shah said.
"Industry has been demanding that VAT rates should be parallel to other neighbouring states, besides reduction in electricity charges and building infrastructure, but such aspects have not covered in this budget," Shah said.
"In this routine budget, industries did not get their proper place in the land of Vibrant Gujarat. For more than 2,50,000 registered MSMEs across the state, allotment of Rs 562 crore is not at all justified," ASSOCHAM Gujarat Council Chairperson Bhagyesh Soneji said.