Budget timid, heartless, lacks big ideas: BJP (Lead)

February 28th, 2011 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday described as “timid,” “unimaginative” and “heartless” the budget for 2011-12 presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, saying there was no “big idea” which had guided the exercise. In a statement, the party said the budget was without a vision, gave no impetus to job creation and failed to tackle the issue of black money.

“There is no big idea which has guided and motivated the budget presentation exercise. It is an unimaginative budget, which has little nexus to the issues confronting the Indian economy,” the statement issued by BJP parliamentary party said.

It said the finance minister has merely utilised the expanding base of the Indian economy to marginally increase allocations for different departments and schemes.

The party said inflation was one of the most serious issues confronting the Indian economy but except for a routine monetary exercise of increasing the interest rates and curbing the money supply, the government has no idea as to how to deal with the issues.

It also said the increased interest rates in the long run will only make the Indian economy non-competitive in the global context.

“The government’s figures of reducing fiscal deficit, last year from 5.1 percent to 4.6 percent was based entirely on the amounts realised from 3G spectrum auction,” the party said.

According to the BJP, the primary casualty in the budget was infrastructure creation.

“Roads, highways, ports, power sector have suffered immensely during the present regime. One expected bigger ideas from this government to incentivise the public private partnership to give impetus in these areas. Regrettably, nothing has been done…The political leadership, which was required to give a vision to this budget appeared to be lacking,” the party said.

The main opposition party also claimed that the budget does not give impetus to job creation.

“In the absence of expansion of the manufacturing sector, high employment opportunities are not likely to generate. The 8.6 percent GDP growth rate is essentially on account of 9.6 percent growth in service sector, in which the government has minimal role,” it said.

The party said that private healthcare had been made costlier by inclusion in the service tax and the budget will make tourism increasingly non-competitive.

“To the middle classes, salaried employees and others this budget offers no cheers. The nominal increase of the tax exemption from Rs.1,60,000 to Rs.1,80,000, at best, brings Rs.2,000 per year tax rebate to this category. This is more than offset by the inflation, rise in food prices, and various other increases influenced by the proposals contained in this budget,” the party statement added.

Pointing to rising oil prices, the party said there was a strong case for replacing ad valorem duties with specified duties so that the consumer does not have to pay higher taxes every time the crude price rises.

“We did not expect the government to profiteer out of oil price increase. We will continue to press for rationalisation of duties in relation to petroleum products,” the BJP said.

Pointing to the issue of black money, the party said nothing has been done in that direction.

“Sectors, which are responsible for generating excessive black money had to be looked into and remedial measures found. The finance minister has ignored the extent of the problem that is eating into the very vitals of the Indian economy,” the party charged.

Earlier, talking to reporters, BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said Mukherjee was not known “for being a reformer in the economic field”.

“That’s why the budget is completely devoid of reforms. The nation was expecting a bold budget, it is a timid budget,” Sinha said.

The party’s Rajya Sabha member Chandan Mitra said the budget was “disappointing and unimaginative” and had failed to live up to expectation of people in terms of relief in income tax exemption.

He said people were expecting the income tax exemption limit to go up to Rs.2 lakh but it had gone up only to Rs.1.8 lakh.

The budget “lacks growth impetus”, Mitra added.

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