Directionless budget eyes on vote bank: Jayalalithaa

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Chennai, Feb 29 (UNI) Stating that the Union Budget turned out to a lackluster and totally directionless, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today said like the railway budget, the Union budget was also presented with an eye on the vote bank in view of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

Reacting to the budget proposals, the AIADMK leader, in a statement here, said ''the Union budget is a lukewarm, colourless exercise with no vigour and incapable of taking the country onto a higher sustained growth path. Lack of direction is clearly visible in the budget''.

Ms Jayalalithaa said there was also no clarity on how the nation could be taken foward on a higher economic growth trajectory.

''No concrete steps for building infrastructure which is the key to a higher growth rate have been spelt out. All in all, the Centre which began flamboyantly, full of sound and fury has ended in a whimper, with nothing of significance for the people at large'', she said.

Though there was an announcement of waiver of loans for farmers, it was highly disappointing that the Centre had restricted the concession to only marginal and small farmers, holding upto two hectares of land, she said.

''It is pertinent to note that no relief has been given for those farmers who have been paying their dues promptly'', she added.

In the absence of budgetary allocation for the waiver of farm loans, farmers would be finding it difficult to secure fresh loans from the banks, she said.

Pointing out that farmers driven to suicide were not those who had taken loans from banks, but those who were in the clutches of money lenders and usurers, she said the waiver of loans would not provide relief to this section of farmers.

''What is required is a comprehensive plan for the protection of farmers. Unfortunately no such constructive plan has been unveiled at all in the budget,'' she said.


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