UPA’s friends and foes attack Budget
New Delhi, Feb. 28 (PTI): The Union Budget for 2007-08 today drew flak from ruling UPA’s friends and foes alike who dubbed it as anti-farmer, anti-common man and listless.
The Left attacked the Government for “ignoring” their suggestions.
Opposition BJP and Shiv Sena dubbed the budget as “anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-common man” which showed that the Congress-led coalition did not have any growth-oriented vision.
CPI leader Gurudas Das Gupta said the budget was a “deplorable exercise” as it has failed to address the problem of farmers’ suicides or the plight of unorganised labour.
He said the budget had even reduced service tax for corporates instead of raising it for mobilising resources for welfare schemes for masses.
Speaking in similar vein, Das Gupta as also Suresh Prabhu (Shiv Sena) said Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s efforts would not help the “aam admi (common man)” and the budget has no measures to rein in inflation.
Dubbing the budget as “listless, unimaginative and timid”, Prabhu said the finance minister has lost a golden opportunity to jack up the growth rate to ten per cent.
“In an attempt to please all, the finance minister has displeased everyone,” he said.
BJP leader Satyanarayan Jatiya said the budget had not measures for ameliorating the plight of the poor. “It is disappointing as the common man has been left out,” he said.
NDA Convenor George Fernandes said there was nothing in the budget for the common man. “Everything has been done for the rich and the elite,” he said adding that the people would come out on the street in protest against the budget.
Mohan Singh (SP) termed the budget as a “directionless exercise” which has failed to address the burning problems facing the nation, including the agrarian crisis and the spiralling prices.
A Narendra (TRS) said the budget was anti-poor and added that it was unfortunate that nothing had been done for checking the hike in prices.
RJD leader Raghunath Jha and Suraj Bhan (LJP), however, described the budget as development oriented and in favour of the poor.
RPI leader Ramdas Athawale hailed certain measures for the scheduled castes and tribes but said they were far short of expectations.
BJP leaders V K Malhotra and Sushma Swaraj said there was nothing in the Budget for “‘aam aadmi’ (common man), women and senior citizens”.
“While food for dogs has been made cheaper, it will be costly now for ‘aam aadmi’,” they said.
The BJP leaders were of the view that whatever minimal concession were announced by the finance minister would be swallowed by the inflation.
The two senior BJP leaders also questioned the rationale behind exemption granted in the Budget to the corporate sector, adding no serious efforts were made to check price rise as also farmers’ problems.
Describing the Budget as “dead”, Swaraj said Chidambaram had only announced constitution of committees and wanted to know “what he had been doing throughout the year”.
CPI-M leader Mohammad Salim said though there has been more allocation for social sector, there was nothing much for the common man and labourers.
“We also expected that Government should come out with concrete proposals for the welfare of minorities in the wake of Justice (Retd) Sachar Committee Report. But we are disappointed,” he said.
On the agriculture sector, Salim said the Budget has only increased credit flow, which alone will not help address the problems faced by agriculture sector as also the farming community.
Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh said the Budget clearly speaks that “‘Congress Ka Haath’ (Congress’s hand) is only with the industrialists” and not with the common man as they have been claiming.
“There is nothing in the Budget to check inflation, price rise. There is nothing for women and the comman man,” he said adding that this Budget would lead to Congress’ “destruction”.
“This government has not learnt any lesson from Uttarakhand and Punjab…. ‘Aam Aadmi’ has nothing to do with sensex and GDP. Farmers are still committing suicides,” Singh said.
Replying to a question, the SP leader said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi “is treating Uttar Pradesh as ‘Apna Dushman Pradesh (her enemy state)”.
“Neither was there anything in the Rail Budget for Uttar Pradesh nor in the General Budget presented today,” he said.
Suspended Samajwadi Party MP and Janmorcha chief Raj Babbar said the budget was disappointing as “there was nothing for over 40 crore farmers in it”.
He said while subsidy has been provided to fertilizer manufacturers, there is no relief for its users (farmers).
JD(U) Digvijay Singh said the Budget was “directionless” and had nothing for the Industry or the Agriculture sector.
He also questioned the logic behind the education cess in view of the growing inflation and making states responsible for irrigation.
“This is a directionless budget before the election year’s Budget. We all know what will be in the next Budget”, he said.