Budget is defeatist, a big letdown: Chidambaram

Updated: 01 Feb 2018 08:25 PM
NEW DELHI: Terming Budget 2018-19 "defeatist" and a "big letdown", the Congress on Thursday said the government has "thrown in the towel" and conceded that it has failed to address key issues in the economy.

The budget proposals should have been "bold and radical", senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said.

"It is a defeatist budget. I think they have thrown in the towel. It is a budget of a government which has conceded that it has failed to address key issues in the economy... Unfortunately, the budget proposals are a big letdown," Chidambaram told reporters here.

Chidambaram also picked holes in the government's budgetary promise of providing insurance coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh to 10 crore poor families and said it was a "big jumla" (gimmick).

"The finance minister fails the fiscal consolidation test and this failure will have serious consequences," Chidambaram had told PTI earlier in the day, soon after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley completed his budget speech.

The Centre today announced the world's largest government funded health care programme, aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

The National Health Protection Scheme, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget for 2018-19, will cover approximately 50 crore people.