Interim budget disappointing: Kerala minister

February 16th, 2009 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghThiruvananthapuram, Feb 16 (IANS) The first reactions from Kerala to the interim budget presented in Parliament Monday by Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee have been those of disappointment.

Mukherjee, presenting the interim budget on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is recovering from heart bypass surgery, said additional steps would have to be considered in the regular budget to be presented by the next government, after the ensuing general elections in a month or two.

Speaking to the media here, state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said this was nothing but a political statement.

“It clearly shows that the situation is really bad and the minister has just concluded by giving an advice to the next government. It is sad that the situation is so bad that they can’t even come out with a budget,” he said.

Maybe for the central government, it is election year but for the state government, things are different, Issac said.

“We wish to know what and how much the state will get and what happened now is unfortunate. Now it is clear that things are really bad in the centre,” he added.

Senior faculty at the Centre for Development Studies K.J. Joseph said the budget could have been more proactive in dealing with the economic crisis.

“Maybe they have political compulsions but what they could have really done was to provide some sops to the diaspora, especially those who are now forced to return from the Middle East,” said Joseph.

“There could have been some sops for the diaspora and it could have come from the huge amounts that is lying with the centre from the collections made by way of emigration charges,” said Joseph.

However, Isaac welcomed the schemes in the social sectors and also the widow’s pension scheme.

“Another area that could have been addressed was that there could have been changes in guidelines in the National Rural Health Mission and for the National Rural Employment Guarantee schemes,” he added.

Isaac, an economist turned finance minister, is due to present his fourth budget in the Kerala assembly Friday.

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