Congress calls for postponement of Union Budget 2017

New Delhi: Dubbing the government’s move to go ahead with the presentation of the Union Budget as an ‘inhuman’ act following the demise of former union minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MP E. Ahamed, the Congress Party on Wednesday called for postponement of the same.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said a big mistake is being done if Ahamed, who was one of the senior most leaders, is not given respect.

“In our opinion including JD (U) leaders and former prime minister Deve Gowda, the Budget should be postponed. Every one said the Budget should be postponed for a day. The House can be adjourned. Not much harm will happen if it is postponed by a day,” Kharge told the media.

Kharge alleged that the government already knew about Ahamed’s demise, but it was trying to delay the announcement on the Union Budget.

“I have talked with many leaders. I am going to meet with Kerala MPs now. I think the government already knew that he had passed away. But they were trying to may be delay the announcement. This is an inhuman act. Behaving like this with a leader is not correct. It’s not March 31. There is enough time to present the Budget. The government can postpone it,” he added.

“When the dead body is here, the House can’t run….this is my contention. In my view, it will not be proper to keep dead body and go ahead with the Budget because there is a lot of time. The Budget can be postponed,” Kharge said.

The cloud hovering around the presentation of Union Budget got cleared as the government has arrived at a consensus after speaking to all political parties.

Sources said obituary to Ahamed will take place before the presentation of the Union Budget.

It may be noted that the budget was passed in the past as well even after sitting MP Paul Jujhar and MoS industry M.B. Rana breathed their last in 1954 and 1974 respectively.

It was earlier speculated that the budget could be postponed by a day after Ahamed passed away at the RML Hospital in the national capital in the wee hours of today after suffering from heart attack.

This year’s budget is historic in several ways. The budget is for the first time being presented on February 1, earlier it was February end event. The government is aiming at implementing the budgetary provisions from the beginning of the financial year which is April 1.

The implementation extended earlier even beyond the month of May and special budget allocations had to be made for the two months of April and May.

Another historic feature of this year’s budget is that instead of a separate Rail Budget presented by the Railways Minister, allocations for the railways will be presented as part of the General Budget by the Finance Minister himself.

Yesterday, the Economic Survey tabled in the Parliament advocated for the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an alternative to the various social welfare schemes in an effort to reduce poverty.

The survey suggested that a more efficient way to help the poor will be to provide them resources directly, through a UBI.

The Economic Survey projected a growth rate of 6.75 percent to 7.5 percent for the next year (2017-18) but said that demonetisation is a risk for its growth projection. The Survey sees India’s GDP growing between 6.5 percent and 6.75 percent in the current fiscal year.

After presenting the Budget, Jaitley will reply to questions by Twitterati on the Budget proposals. The questions to Jaitley can be asked on Twitter by using hashtag #MyQuestionToFM.

The first part of the Budget session will continue till February 9 and after a month long recess the second part will commence from March 9. The first part of the session has been kept brief in view of the upcoming assembly Polls in five states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.

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