New Delhi, Mar 13: The UPA government's Union Budget for 2008-09 today came in for scathing criticism by its predecessor in office Bharatiya Janata Party for its ''failure'' to address the agricultural crisis which the opposition party said had placed the country on a volcano which could erupt any day.
The whole process of economic reforms and integration with the global market set in during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tenure as Finance Minister in the 1990s also came under a sharp attack. Opening the discussion on the budget, senior BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi described the budget's much trumpeted feature of loan waiver as a great 'tamasha(drama)', saying it would not benefit the farmers in real terms as most of them had taken credit from private money lenders.
Moreover, he said the Finance Minister had failed to give any direction in the budget for increasing the foodgrain production and also for adressing the falling industrial growth and controlling the increasing prices of essential commodities. "A budget should not be just statistical manipulation but show a vision for socio-economic growth" he said.
The BJP leader came down heavily on the Prime Minister who in his speech on the budget had ascribed the present agricultural crisis and other economic problems to the policies of the previous NDA Government.
''It is very unfortunate that a person of the stature of the Prime Minister should say something which was very far from truth,'' said Dr Joshi.
He said he would refute the charge by quoting from the 2003-2004 economic survey presented by Finance Minister P Chidamabaram himself after the UPA government took over from the BJP.
Dr Joshi pointed out that in that survey, the UPA government had admitted that economy was poised for a resilient growth, and the bouyancy had come because of the strong recovery in agriculture, and low inflation rate due to an appropriate mix of monetary and fiscal policies.
If that was what the UPA government inherited from the NDA government in 2004, then the Prime Minister's claim of the economy having been left in a mess by the previous government became self-contradictory, he said.