UPA under fire

UPA under fire
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First Published: Fri, Feb 13 2009. 12 35 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Feb 13 2009. 12 35 AM IST
The UPA government is likely to come under heavy attack from Opposition parties over its economic policies in the final session of the 14th Lok Sabha. A rapidly slowing economy with no clear revival in sight is ample ammunition to the non-UPA parties. BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, L.K.Advani, in his address at Ficci’s annual general meeting on Thursday, said the UPA government had failed on all fronts, from growth to agriculture and infrastructure. He also hit out at the UPA over the Satyam scam, which he said could not have happened without government support.
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“Its leaders are shirking their responsibility for the current economic crisis by saying that it is due to external factors. When the prices of essential commodities needed by the aam aadmi were rising alarmingly last year, we had heard a similar alibi from senior representatives of the government…The people have had to suffer mainly due to the government’s lack of pro-active planning, close monitoring of shortages, and efficient public distribution,” Advani said.
In this backdrop the government will be presenting the vote-on-account or an interim budget. Going by precedents, there is little scope for the government to bring any major changes. But going by the current state of the economy and the election code-of-conduct about to come into play soon, the government is likely to introduce populist measures.
The recent changes in FDI norms are a case in point. “The move on the insurance bill and the latest attempt to change FDI regulation…is completely misplaced. In several sectors the process was still going on in Parliament. The government has chosen the executive route. When investment in their own countries is not there, to expect these will induce investment in our country is like living in a fools paradise,” says Nilotpal Basu, Central Committee Member of the CPI (M).
The Budget Session that began on Thursday will have 10 sittings. The menu for this session is largely economic. But the governments’ ability to foot the bill is getting bleaker with a widening fiscal deficit. The real message on who devours whom will be delivered in elections.
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First Published: Fri, Feb 13 2009. 12 35 AM IST