Pranab blames Indian politics for budget's failure

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Mar 19: Defending his Union budget presented in the Parliament, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday, Mar 18, said that he could have done "many things" in the Budget but was "extra careful" due to political compulsions.

Pranab faced strong criticism from the opponent, stated that the Budget was a lost opportunity in rising fuel subsidies head on with the support of political parties and the state governments, "... knowing the mood of the persons who matter here (in Parliament), I had to be extra careful and I had to make my colleagues extra careful. Therefore, many of things which could have been done, rather should have been done, could not be done just at the time of the Budget."

Reacting to criticism, Pranab said that he was conscious about the prevailing ground reality that a "decision taken in one House is reversed or changed within 24 hours, when the same proposal approved by one House comes to the other House."

While explaining the budget, he indicated that UPA may be forced to go in for market-adjusted prices of diesel and cooking gas in order to bring down subsidies. While the major subsidies including food, fuel and fertiliser have been pegged at Rs 1.79 lakh crore for 2012-2013.

"I know there are certain sectors, where we shall have to address and budgetary exercise is not the only exercise. There are other administrative and outside Budget decisions are to be taken ... bringing the political parties, state government on board and that cannot be only through budgetary exercise," he added.

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