Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said deficit of the proposed budget for 2023-24 fiscal is to be 5.2 percent of GDP while the deficit in India is 5.9 percent, in the USA 6 percent and in the UK 5.5 percent.
"I would like to draw attention of the professional critics, who claim that they do many researches and they highlight the 5.2 percent deficit in our country's proposed budget for the 2023-24 fiscal. The deficit is 5.9 percent of GDP in India, 6 percent in the US and 5.5 percent in the UK," he said.
This means, he said, the budget deficit of India, the UK and the US is more than Bangladesh. Not only that, more than hundred countries across the globe have budget deficits, he added.
The minister said these while exchanging views with reporters on contemporary issues at the conference room of his ministry at Secretariat in the capital.
Hasan said the political critics gave their statements without reading the budget copy. In fact, the proposed budget is poor-friendly and pro-people as it proposed for increasing the number of direct beneficiaries of government allowances and the amount of allowance while two crore people will get various assistance, including money from the government directly, he added.
"All are poor who will get the allowances. So it is not a pro-poor budget?" said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.
Replying to a query over a comment of the premier on visa policy of the US, the minister said the premier said this to reduce tension of those who are in anxiety after the announcement of the US visa policy. "The relation with the USA is very fantastic and we want the relationship to be closer. For this, you all see that the government has taken many positive decisions, including in foreign affairs," he added.
"At the same time, we also want to increase business with other countries and continents such as South America, the Middle East, ASEAN countries in the Far East and the areas of great potential for trade in the Oceania region. And the Prime Minister has said these," said Hasan.
Replying to another query over tax issue, the minister said it is not right that paying this tax is compulsory. Those who have TIN (Tax Identification Number) certificate but do not pay tax, they have been asked to file tax return by paying a fee of Taka 2,000, he added.
Criticising a statement of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the minister said Azrael along Satan (evil) have been chasing them. "I would like to tell Mirza Fakhrul that there is no benefit to give such statements for self-complacency. Your caretaker government demand died on the field and there is no support for such government from anywhere in the world. So, take preparation to participate in the next elections," he said.
Replying to another query over a list being made by BNP, the minister said they are also making lists of those who carries out arson attacks, vandalized vehicles and resisted the votes.