National

Budget favours corporates: Congress

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 10, 2021

Congress MP Kapil Sibal   -  PTI

Govt promoting crony capitalism, inequality rising, Rajya Sabha told

The Rajya Sabha started the debate over the Union Budget on February 8. Initiating the debate, senior Congress MP Kapil Sibal said the Budget does not do anything to address the increasing levels of inequality and favours crony capitalists.

However, the BJP countered it saying it has potential to address the slowdown during the pandemic. Former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and BJP’s key speaker Sushil Kumar Modi said proactive steps are being taken by the Centre to address the issues of people.

Maan ki baat

Sibal said one particular businessman is growing in all sectors, but the Centre has no time to listen to protesting farmers. He urged the Centre to listen to farmers’ demands and legalise the MSP. “The problem is you are not listening to Mann ki baat of farmers. You always talk about your Mann ki baat. What are farmers asking? Farmers are asking for MSP law,” Sibal said.

He said the subsidies in the country for farmers are much less than in other big countries. “In the US, every farmer gets about $62,000 a year from the government. You are not willing to give our farmers MSP. Farmer does not ask for more, your corporates do.When corporates ask for tax relief and exemptions, the government gives them. But, when farmers ask for MSP, you are not ready to give. Poor farmers are asking minimum, you give maximum to corporates,” said.

Claiming that the three farm laws are aimed at corporatisation of the agriculture sector, he said, “In 2020, American farmers were saddled with bankruptcy of over $425 billion. This is the result of corporatisation of farming in America. In fact, the rate of suicides in rural America was 45 per cent higher than urban America. Small farm lands have disappeared.” He reminded the Centre that 40-50 per cent of people are still dependent on agriculture for livelihood and have no alternative job.

Rise in inequality

He said the Budget was just a jugglery of data. The former Union Law Minister said the Centre is perpetuating a rigged economic system besides loot bank politics as more development works have been announced for poll-bound States of West Bengal, Assam and others.

While every Budget has twin objectives of growth and equity, the government has preferred growth and forgotten the poor people of the country, while also promoting “crony capitalism”, he alleged.

He said inequality is on the rise. “In 2018, one per cent of the people in the country owned 58 per cent of the assets of this country. In 2019, one per cent of people of this country owned 75 per cent of assets of this country. This is a classic case of crony capitalism,” he added.

Dismissing the claims, Sushil Kumar Modi listed a number of policies such as Ujjwala scheme and direct cash transfer to farmers and said they are not aimed at a few people. “India ensured money in the hands of people during this pandemic. Even the US could not do so with this speed. A number of people have shifted to gas burners in their kitchen. Is it because this government does not care for the poor? It is not fair to say that this government works for just a handful of corporate houses,” Modi said.

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Published on February 10, 2021
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