Centre failed to bring clarity on state of economy: Chidambaram on Budget 2017

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Apr. 11 (ANI): As the second leg of the Budget Session comes to a conclusion tomorrow, former union finance minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday slammed the Centre for being unable to bring clarity in the state of economy adding the Congress was relieved that no additional harm was done to the economy. "This Budget Session was special because of the passage of the GST Bills. The country expected that at the end of the Budget Session, thanks to the debate and information provided by the government, there would be a greater clarity about the state of economy. But, unfortunately, there is no such clarity," Chidambaram said. "At the end of the day, we are no less wiser than we were at the beginning of the session," he added. The senior Congress further criticised the Centre for "poor" allocation of funds and alleged that defence, agriculture and fertiliser subsidy received less funds in the 2017-18 than the previous financial year. "In the Appropriation Bill, we had pointed out the priorities of the government were wrong and allocation of funds was poor the most affected sectors, programmes were defence, agriculture, MGNREGA, fertiliser subsidy and food subsidy, and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana," Chidambaram said. "All of them will receive less funds as the percentage of GDP in 2017-18 less than they received in 2016-17," he added. Chidambaram also chided the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government for introducing Income Tax amendment Bill and electoral bonds related bill under Money bill instead of Finance Bill. "The Finance Bill was passed as a money bill where it would be apparent to anyone familiar with article 110 of the constitution that it ceases to be a money bill upon the addition of matters filling out of article 110. The sole purpose was to avoid the scrutiny of the Rajya Sabha. It was an assault on the Constitution of India," he said. The Centre recently made at least 40 amendments to the Finance Bill, 2017, that was passed as a money bill by the Lok Sabha. The amendments, which include key Income Tax Act changes, would give sweeping powers to tax officials. The amendments gave fodder to the opposition that slammed the government for bringing back 'inspector raj' in the country. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during his budget speech in February 2017, announced introduction of electoral bonds as a way for political parties to find funding and cut black money and corruption. (ANI)