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No measures in Union interim budget to benefit people, economy: Kerala Finance Minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 1 (PTI) Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Thursday said that the the interim budget for 2024-25, presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, was a "copy-paste" of last year's budget and there was nothing in it to benefit the people or the economy.

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Balagopal, speaking to reporters here, said that while the Centre accuses Kerala of taking huge loans, 25 per cent of the Union budget was spent on interest payments.

"They have presented this budget with the confidence that they will come back to power. There is nothing in it to benefit the people or the economy," he said.

Leader of Opposition in the assembly, V D Satheesan, also spoke along similar lines.

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In a statement, Satheesan said that the interim budget presented by Sitharaman was only a "political announcement aimed at the parliamentary elections", while ignoring the realities of the country and giving priority to corporate interests.

He said that it was a budget which has no compassion towards the poor, but shows excessive loyalty to corporates.

Earlier, in the assembly, Balagopal said that there is an economic recession in India, but no measures in the interim budget to address the issue.

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The minister said that he saw the budget presentation and that the Union Minister only talked about last year's budget and nothing new.

"There is an economic recession in India. So, some measures to energise it by allocating funds to various sectors was expected. That was not there," he said.

He also said in the assembly that of the entire Rs 47 lakh crore budget, 36 per cent is from borrowing.

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He made the remarks while criticising the Congress-led UDF opposition for not discussing the shortcomings in the interim budget in the House.

"You (UDF) are always criticising things happening here, but not a word is said against them (Centre) here or in the Parliament," he said.

The remarks came during discussion on the Kerala State Goods and Services Tax (Amendment ) Bill, 2024 which aims to implement 28 per cent GST on online gaming. PTI HMP HMP KH

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