Populist budget, eyeing general election: CII

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Kolkata, Feb 29 (UNI) Industrialists in Bengal today described the Union budget for 2008-09 as '' populist '', aimed at the next year general election.

Confederation of Indian Industries (CII-eastern region) Deputy Chairman Sandipan Chakraborty said there was nothing surprising in the budget except Rs 60,000 crore agricultural debt relief for small and marginal farmers.

He, however, appreciated Finance Minister P Chidambaram for enhancing budget allocation on education, health and agriculture, which, according to him, would ultimately benefit the country at large.

CII's former chairman Tapan Mitra said the loan waiver would not have helped the farmers and suggested that the government would have done better if they (farmers) were given the cash amount.

He said rural people suffer most because of poor network and the government should have spent more money on creating infrastructure like connectivity of roads, which was not mentioned in the budget.

The other good point in the budget was more tax relief for the salaried people, who are the majority among the middle class, he added.

Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) senior vice-president Sanjay Budhia said debt relief should not be a regular package and wondered why there was no new cut on interest rate on exports.

UNI PC KK AKJ KN1752

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