Budget a recipe for disaster: Yashwant Sinha

March 1st, 2008 - 6:21 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) Former finance minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha Saturday termed the union budget 2008-09 as “a recipe for long-term economic disaster”. “This is a 100 percent political budget. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced a loan waiver of Rs.60,000 crore (Rs.600 billion) for farmers but has not stated where this money will come from,” Sinha said during a presentation on the budget at the BJP headquarters here.

Sinha was the finance minister in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government during 1998-2004 and presented five union budgets.

“The banks which are required to waive off the loans to small and marginal farmers will not have the land records (which would determine the beneficiary’s status based on landowning). For this he will have to go to the land revenue officials. This would mean that the June 30 deadline set by the government would not be easily met.

“The budget is not an election manifesto where one can announce schemes and not explain where the funds for their implementation will come from. A budget is a sacred document,” he said.

Sinha also criticised the budget for making no provision for the funds required to implement the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations and ignoring infrastructure, rising inflation and a likely shortfall in the excise collection.

Commenting on the budget allocations exclusively for minorities, Sinha said a particular community was chosen for appeasement. “When you mention the Sachar Committee in your speech you are talking about Muslims,” he said, referring to Chidambaram’s budget speech.

“Since he mentioned the 90 minority dominated districts, now even those who did not know about it do so.

“This is the height of appeasement. While sops for women, children, backward sections, Scheduled Castes and others are welcome, this cannot be done on the basis of religion,” he said.

“This is an extremely populist budget which will transfer all the burden to the next government. The tax cuts and other measures are all for short-term gains. It is a recipe for long-term economic disaster,” Sinha concluded.

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