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Budget lacks focus on macro-economic issues: Sinha

Written by: Staff

Kochi, Mar 3: Former Union Finance Minister in the NDA Government Yashwant Sinha has criticised the budget proposals for 2006-07 as lacking focus on macro-economic issues.

In a talk here last evening on 'The Implications of the Union Budget 2006,' Mr Sinha said the underlying concerns of the Indian economy, find little mention in the budget proposals, presented by Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

''The budget proposals lacks economic context and strategy,'' he added.

The former finance minister also took umbrage at Mr Chidambaram ''making political points'' during the budget presentation by referring to the common minimum programme of the UPA Government and its supporting allies.

''The finance minister should have desisted from this,'' he said.

While Mr Chidambaram had brought down the interest rates for short-term loans to farmers to seven per cent from nine per cent, there was scope to further reduce it to six per cent, the BJP leader added.

On the finance minister taking credit for the over two per cent growth in agriculture during the last year, Mr Sinha wondered if he was ready to take the blame for the not-so-robust performance of the sector in the preceding year.

Questioning the rationale which led the finance minister to reduce the excise duty on aerated drinks and small cars from 24 to 16 per cent while increasing it on a number of items of daily use, Mr Sinha said the finance minister should re-think on this.

Identifying inflation as an area of concern, Mr Sinha said a hike in the price of petroleum products was likely to be announced after the Assembly elections. This would lead to an increase in the prices of various goods.

The talk was organised by the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kerala Management Association.


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