Parties term Budget 'poll-oriented' with no long-term gains

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New Delhi, Mar 1 (UNI) Terming the Union Budget 2008-09 as 'election-oriented', various parties today said it would have no long-term gains for the commonman.

Terming the Budget as a 'holy document', former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who had presented several budgets in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, alleged that there was 'no transparency whatsoever'.

Mr Sinha said Mr Chidambaram had presented a totally misleading budget without even showing how this mega loan waiver worth Rs 60,000 crore or the Pay Commission report for the Central Government employees that would require huge amounts running upto thousand odd crore would be implemented.

Mr Chidambaram had 'communalised' the Budget presentation when he exclusively earmarked development of 90 'Muslim dominated' constituencies of the country identified by Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee, he added.

Describing the Union Budget a 'big disappointment' for Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Mayawati said the neglect of the most populous state of the country in the proposals of the Union Budget presented in Parliament yesterday was glaring. Specially the omission of the most backward areas of Poorvanchal and Bundelkhand had been very disappointing for the state government, she told reporters.

While praising the loan waiver scheme for the farmers to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore, she said even this announcement lacked clarity as how the banks would get down to the task.

Dubbing most of budgetary announcements as only ' half solutions' with an eye on the next general election, she said it lacks in favourable provisions for landless, dalits, backwards and economically backwards among the upper castes.

In Arunanchal Pradesh, the opposition BJP termed the budget as 'anti-North East and poll friendly' adding that it did not reflect the priorities mentioned in the President's address on the north eastern states with no special package.

However, Water Resource Development Minister and state government spokesman Tako Dabi while terming the budget 'poor-oriented', said it had covered all sections of society uniformly and taken utmost care for the middle class. He said the budget would benefit Arunachal Pradesh from all angles.

Terming the budget as ''election-oriented,'' Karnataka BJP President D V Sadananda Gowda opined the farm loan waiver would not bring benefit to farmers in the state.

Talking to newspersons in Bangalore, Mr Gowda criticised the budget as it did not contain proposals for fulfilling the long-pending demand of the farming community for slashing farm loan interest from the present seven per cent to four per cent by commercial banks.

Criticising Mr Chidambaram for failing to step up the allocation for infrastructure projects in various sectors, including sufrace transport, ports, power and irrigation, he said the budget lacked direction.

Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Founder-Leader S Ramadoss, whose party is part of the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre, said in chennai that the Budget lacked mechanism to check the spiralling prices of essential commodities.

The one-time loan waiver announced for small and marginal farmers would not pave the way for future growth of the agriculture sector, he said, adding that ways and means must be found to prevent farmers getting caught in a debt trap and committing suicide.

In Kozhikode, Kerala, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) Joint Secretary P Krishna Prasad said there was no concrete measure in the Budget to ameliorate the sufferings of the farmers.

While welcoming the budget proposals to waive loans availed by farmers, Mr Prasad said there was no proposal to ensure adequate remunerative prices for their produce.

However, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for announcing debt relief scheme for farmers in Union Budget.

In a letter to the Prime Minister Dr Reddy said his State would be the largest beneficiary of the debt relief scheme.

Hailing the Budget 2008-09, former national secretary of the Indian Youth Congress Bhanupratapnarain Mishra said it had sent the right message that the Congress was concerned about the welfare of the people.

The budget was praiseworthy for not only farmers's loans waiver to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore, but also for senior citizens who could lead a respectful life and did not have to be at the mercy of their children.

He said increased allocations in the education sector, and setting up of 13 central universities would go a long way in benefit the youth.

UNI Team MS RAI2002

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