Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Union Budget 2023–'24, has brought her accolades from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and criticism from the Opposition-ruled states in the south, with the exception of Andhra Pradesh.
While Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai was pleased with the budget, political leaders of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana were not. Here's a list of reactions.
Karnataka: In Karnataka, where the saffron party is in power, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai thanked the FM for a substantial allocation of Rs 5,300 crore towards irrigation and drinking water supply to the state.
The Upper Bhadra Project, now supported by the Centre, would irrigate 2.25 lakh hectares of land in Chikkamagalur, Chitradurga, Davangere, and Tumakuru districts.
Kerala: The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala was not impressed with the budget.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said:
"Kerala's long standing demand for All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and railways development was not included in the budget. This is disappointing for the state."
What else from Kerala? Vijayan further slammed the Centre for trimming the budget allocation for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme from 11,868 crore to Rs 8,820 crore. At a time when the states are reeling under post-COVID fiscal crunch, the Centre has planned a nominal 0.42 percent raise in the budget for National Health Mission, he said.
Tamil Nadu: The state's Finance Minister P Thiaga Rajan was largely silent on the budget, but Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Dayanidhi Maran derided the Centre, stating:
"The Centre has announced schemes for the states and basically asked them to take care of themselves. The budget is disappointing."Dayanidhi Maran, DMK MP
What else from Tamil Nadu? A DMK ally, Communist Party of India (CPI) Tamil Nadu issued a statement slamming the Centre:
"Centre announced huge financial support for the neighbouring state (Karnataka) but has not compensated Tamil Nadu for the GST levied. This is discrimination driven by politics."R Mutharasan, CPI State Secretary, Tamil Nadu
Telangana: Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) became one of the most vocal parties to oppose the Union budget online, accusing the Centre of favouritism. BRS leader and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's daughter, K Kavitha said:
"Why is there no equitable distribution of funds to the states? Telangana and a few other states that are neither ruled by the BJP nor poll-bound have found no mention in the budget."K Kavitha, BRS MLC
Andhra Pradesh: The only ruling regional party in the south which supported the budget was YSR Congress Party.
Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister B Rajendranath welcomed the budget and said:
"It is positive that the Centre has decided to continue to the interest free loans to the state governments and allocated Rs 1.3 lakh crore for this."B Rajendranath, Finance Minister, Andhra Pradesh