Finance Ministry has refuted the allegation of Trade Unions that they were not given enough time to put forward their points of views during pre-budget consultations.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been holding meetings in eight phases with various stakeholders through virtual mode since November 21. On Monday, she held consultation with the stakeholders of labour organisations including labour unions.  All the groups were asked to send their detailed suggestions in a written manner so that they could be suitably looked into. Each group had been uniformly allotted 75 minutes without favour or preference to any group and each speaker has been given 3 minutes to explain the significant aspects of the suggestions. However, On Monday, post the meeting union representatives said that time was too short to share their views.

‘Others haven’t raised any issue’

Finance Ministry officials said that to date, none of the other participants have raised any issue whatsoever with respect to the quantum of time allotted to speak.  A detailed written representation/proposal has been sought from every participant and the 3 minutes allotted to speak is to put across the critical points of the written representation.  Officials claimed that till date every participant appreciated patient hearings. ”The issue raised by the Trade Unions is a mischievous, politically motivated and deliberate attempt to politicize the pre-budget consultations,” one of the officials said.

Finance Minister held Pre-Budget consultations via video conferencing with more than 100 participants from the different sectors comprising Agriculture and Agri-Processing, Health, Education, Water & Sanitation, Rural Development, Industry, Infrastructure, Trade Unions, Service and Trade, and also some economists. FM has patiently heard the proposal of each of the participants, the official said.

Suggestions for forthcoming budget

Meanwhile, Finance Ministry concluded pre budget meetings involving 110 participants from seven stakeholder groups. The representatives of the stakeholder groups made a number of suggestions for the forthcoming budget that included mechanism for green certification to help MSMEs, urban employment guarantee programme to boost employment generation in urban areas, rationalisation of income tax, creation of innovation clusters, schemes for improving domestic supply chains, reduction of taxes on electric vehicle, introduction of EV policy, measures to promote India as a hub for Green Hydrogen, Social Sector Entrepreneurship Fund for Social Impact Companies, Training and Accreditation of Care Economy Workers, portable social benefit for children, National Regulatory Authority for Water and Sanitation, coverage of unorganised workers under ESIC, continuation of Public Capex, fiscal consolidation and lower customs duties, among others.