Leaders of the Opposition parties on Tuesday criticised the Union Budget, saying the Modi government had done little for the poor and middle-class citizens, who had been worst affected by the pandemic. They said that the problems raised by farmers were not considered. Many politicians also highlighted the concerns over unemployment.

Congress leader and parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi called it a “zero-sum” budget.

Describing the Budget as “inspid”, Congress parliamentarian Anand Sharma said the government was in denial about the challenges of unemployment, low income and a “frightening” rise in inequality. Sharma also said the Budget did not have a roadmap to create jobs.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the Budget was “extremely disappointing” and called it a “damp squib”, reported ANI. Tharoor said the Budget seemed to pushing the “mirage” of “Acche Din [good days]” even farther away. “Now, it’s India at 100,” said Tharoor. “We will have to wait 25 years more for ‘acche din’ to arrive.”

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee said the Budget had “zero” for common people who are being “crushed” by unemployment and inflation. “A Pegasus spin Budget,” she said in a tweet.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien called it a “PM [Does Not] Care” Budget.

Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shiv Sena leader and parliamentarian, approved of the Budget’s measures on climate action, promoting digital economy and energy transition but said there was no tax relief for individuals. She also said there was no relief for senior citizens and neither did the policy focus on women.

Sitaram Yechury, a Communist Party of India parliamentarian, said the Budget was “anti-people”. Yechury said that subsidies on food, fertiliser and petroleum were slashed at a time of crisis due to the pandemic. “Cruel assault on people’s livelihoods,” he said.

Yechury added that India has “200 million missing jobs” but no urban employment guarantee was announced. He criticised the allocation for the rural employment guarantee scheme. “MGNREGA [Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act] allocation remains the same as last year ₹73Kcr, which fell short by nearly ₹50Kcr,” he wrote on Twitter.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Budget was a betrayal of India’s salaried and middle-class who were hoping for relief in view of pay cuts and inflation. Surjewala said the direct tax measures are a disappointment.

Surjewala also posed questions on cryptocurrency and asked how the government intends to regulate it and protect investors. “Is crypto currency now legal, without bringing the Crypto Currency Bill?” he wrote on Twitter.

Communist Party of India General Secretary D Raja said the Budget turned out to be a “bag of disasters and deceptions”.

Highlighting the effect of the pandemic on common citizens, Raja said the Budget did not bring in a wealth tax and that the rich stand to gain more.

Focus on making India self-reliant, says BJP

Meanwhile, Union ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders claimed the Budget was “visionary” and “growth-oriented”.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said research and development in several sectors, including defence, has been given a substantial allocation. Singh highlighted that the capital expenditure outlay has been increased by 35.4% to Rs 10.6 lakh crores and noted that the bulk of the money will go into developing the country’s social and physical infrastructure.

BJP president JP Nadda said the Budget was in line with the Centre’s policy of social justice and equality, ANI reported. Nadda said it was not an agenda for a year’s development but a blueprint for the country’s development for the next 25 years.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Twitter said the “visionary” Budget would help India become a leading economy in the world.