Mumbai: The Congress party in Maharashtra described Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget 2015 as a big let down for the common man even as it gifted the rich with more riches.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier given assurances of bringing down inflation but on the other this budget will impact prices that will go up sharply — of medicines, home loans, mobiles, laptop, internet, cable TV, WiFi, hotel stay, air travel and much more,” said Manikrao Thakre, who heads the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC).

He ridiculed the budget saying that it was “ulta (topsy turvy) Robinhood” style of “looting the poor to pay the rich.” He reminded how Jaitley, whilst in Opposition, had made a case in Parliament that the income tax slab should be raised to Rs500,000 but it now remains unchanged at Rs250,000.

The budget is also disappointing to the debt-ridden farmers, particularly where farmers’ suicides are high, he said, since the agriculture sector has been given scant attention.

Mumbai-based RTI activist, Anil Galgai, in a tweet to Jaitley said that “the budget is anti-common man, as the increase in service tax will lead to price hike in all commodities and services. On the other side, by reducing the corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, it has been proved that the government is pro-corporate and anti-people.”

For the middle and lower income classes, particularly housewives who have been complaining about escalating prices of vegetable, fruits and food stuffs, “there is no relief for us,” said Asha Kamble, who works as a cook in three homes. However, several people have come forward to say that they are pleased that senior citizens are getting their due attention, especially where medical insurance is concerned.

However, Congressman Thakre said that the increase in Foreign Direct Investment to 49 per cent in the insurance sector was to only help private insurance companies.

Also expressing disappointment was an environmentalist from Nagpur, Kishor Rithe, President, Satpuda Foundation, who felt that the “regular allocation to wildlife and forests has been reduced in the budget 2015-16. This was not expected,” he said. The former member of the Standing Committee of the National Wildlife Board of India pointed that are centrally sponsored schemes under which states get financial assistance. The Tiger Project has been allocated Rs1.36 billion for around 50 tiger reserves in India as compared to Rs1.61 billion in 2014-15.

Even for shared schemes between state and centre, the allocation for afforestation and development of wildlife habitats has come down from Rs5.46 billion in the last budget to Rs2.99 billion this time. “This is quite insufficient for managing wildlife in more than 650 protected areas in India,” said Rithe. “The dream of making India Green has come to an end with this budget,” he added.

Despite the discontent in many sectors, Corporate India is in a positive mood. Nirakar Pradhan, Chief Investment Officer, Future General Life Insurance, commented, “While the budget provides a holistic platform for stimulating economic growth and enhancing corporate earnings in the next couple of years, it also takes steps for inclusive growth by introducing a social safety net for everyone. Steps taken in the first budget by the new government are expected to act as a catalyst for double digit GDP growth in the next 2-3 years which augurs well for both equity and debt market over medium to long term.”

Also emphasising that Budget 2015 was a good start for the government, Vinod Nair, Head, Fundamental Research, Geojit BNP Paribas, said, “It is a well balanced act, as it intends to improve economy’s growth in the long-term. The first full budget provides healthy direction to the economy.” He said the focus now is to grow with emphasis on financing, manufacturing and infrastructure.