New Delhi: Dubbing the Union Budget as "pro-corporate and anti-poor," Congress on Saturday said it was a "dhanwapsi (repayment)" by the NDA to the big corporates for their support in Lok Sabha polls.
"It is a pro-corporate budget," Congress President Sonia Gandhi said when asked about her reaction on it.
Slamming the budget as one that promises nothing new, party leaders said the plan to bring a new law on blackmoney meant that the government was not bringing illegal money stashed abroad on which it had made tall promises.
"Finance Minister Arun Jaitely is a good lawyer. But he presented the government's case today as a very bad lawyer," remarked Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
He charged that the budget was a "repayment by the BJP government to the rich and corporates who had supported them during Lok Sabha polls".
Former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the budget was a "dhanwapsi" programme. "You (BJP) had taken in elections. You are paying back," he charged.
The allusion was to the controversial "gharwapasi" programme by saffron parties.
Ramesh also said the "budget has (SIMI) in it...Skill India, Make India."
The Congress President's political secretary Ahmed Patel said, "The hype over the budget had created lot of hope but the outcome is disappointing".
"Allocation for Sarvashiksha Abhiyan is cut. Farmers get nothing. Service tax increase hurts the poor and the rich will pay less tax," Patel said.
Holding that the budget lacked any substantial investment
in the social sector, Kharge charged that it was "pro-industrialist", "pro-corporate" and not meant for the poor.
"The government got a lot of money because of the fall of prices in crude oil. But you did not use it for the poor for inclusive development. The budget was also made keeping in mind the future state elections in Bihar and West Bengal in mind," he said.
"The budget fills the coffers of the rich and empties that of the poor. It has not launched any new programme and repackaged old schemes with cosmetic changes.
"The budget does not give an answer sheet. He has only given a question paper," Kharge said, adding that Jaitley's promise for special packages for states raises doubts as they have been announced for states where elections are due.
Former Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath said the budget does not bring the stimulus that should have come in the country's economy.
"The budget is a great disappointment. It does nothing that stimulates the rural economy or growth or generate employment. It's a budget that promises setting up committee, commissions.
"This is a hollow budget, a budget of event management. There is nothing in this budget which will increase the purchase capacity of the youth. Corporate tax has been reduced, which will only benefit the rich," he said, adding he will not give more than 2 or 3 out of 10 to Jaitley if the budget is rated like this.
AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the budget is "very ordinary".
"The budget is not special from any point of view. Government talks a lot about poor but nothing has been done in the budget about the poor.Common man will have to pay for service tax and other similar proposals of the government."
Former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia termed the budget as "plain and hollow".