'Professional pessimists' expressing doubts over budget: Modi
July 6, 2019 | 10:35 PM
by Agencies
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: Even as the Opposition at home at slammed the maiden budget presented by Nirmala Sitharaman, the US corporate sector has hailed it “inclusive” as well as attractive for foreign investors.

The Opposition leaders criticised the Union government for presenting a business-as-usual Budget by the Modi-led government on Friday. Telugu Desam Party Chief and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu on Friday called it “disappointing” and not in accordance with the wishes of the people of Andhra Pradesh.

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy criticised the budget and said it is a “big blow” to the state’s economy. He said, “More morale-boosting programmes were desirable for the farming sector.” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said the budget reflects “incrementalism sans vision”.

“I think there is a fundamental problem. It reflects the same incrementalism, there is no bold idea, no vision, it mentions aspirational numbers like five trillion dollar economy without any roadmap of how to get that,” he said.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday lashed out at Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for not fulfiling the promise of providing scholarship to one crore Muslim students in the Union Budget.

However Prime Minister Narendra Modi dismissed the critics as naysayers and professional pessimists and expressed confidence that the budget will lead India to the $5 trillion economy goal, ‘naysayers are professional pessimists’ Launching his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s nationwide membership drive in Varanasi on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept said it was important for all to know that the goal is now a $5 trillion economy. “Together we can achieve the goal of making India a $5 trillion economy and prove those professional pessimists wrong who think the target is unattainable,” said PM Modi. “It is essential for all you BJP workers to understand what is meant by a $5 trillion economy. This is not because you need to explain it people but also you must give it back to those who think India cannot achieve this goal,” Modi said.

Meanwhile, the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), president Mukesh Aghi said that the budget is inclusive and policy decisions are encouraging for American companies. It is “good news” for companies like Apple, Aghi said. The Budget opens up the Indian market, and encourages US companies to invest more, at the same time it ensures prosperity and growth for the lower sections, he said. The Budget is trying to make positive structural changes, he added.

“We are pleased to see a 2019-2020 Budget that delivers a forward-looking and reform-minded approach for the Modi government’s second term,” Nisha Desai Biswal, president of US India Business Council, told news agency PTI. USIBC welcomes proactive measures to double farmers’ income, liberalise FDI in a number of sectors and allow 100 per cent FDI for insurance intermediaries, and increase FPI investment limits - all reforms USIBC has actively supported, she said.

USIBC members will be encouraged by the Budget’s focus on skilling Indians, with an emphasis on jobs in data analytics, artificial intelligence, and robotics, Biswal said. “Goals like transforming India into a global space and aviation hub also demonstrate the longer-term thinking of the new government. We look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi and the Government of India to make these priorities, and the larger vision for a modern India a reality,” Biswal said. “This is a visionary budget from the first woman Finance Minister of India marked with a long-term 10-year plan while retaining focus on immediate priorities,” said Karun Rishi, president of USA-India Chamber of Commerce said.

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