India opposition, left say budget missed opportunity

India opposition, left say budget missed opportunity
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First Published: Wed, Feb 28 2007. 03 27 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Feb 28 2007. 03 27 PM IST
By Reuters
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today termed the budgetary proposals for 2007-08 as anti-inflationary which aimed to control prices through reduction in excise duty on many items.
“The budget certainly has the anti-inflationary effect,” he told reporters, adding the government had moved forward with its fiscal consolidation and deficit reduction programmes.
“We are moving in that direction,” he said adding the steps taken in the budget should provide the assurance that “inflation will not be allowed to get out of hand”.
The Prime Minister said the government had targeted a nine % GDP growth during the 11th plan that is aimed at speeding up development.
India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party and the ruling coalition’s key communist allies termed the national budget presented on Wednesday as a “missed opportunity”.
India’s finance minister, P Chidambaram, presented the national budget in parliament allocating more funds for education, health and steps to boost agricultural growth.
Budget missed opportunity, say Opposition and Left
“It is a completely lackluster, uninspiring and disastrous budget,” BJP party leader Prakash Javdekar said.
“There was tremendous opportunity to capitalise on the growth trajectory which he completely missed out. He could have announced measures to push growth. He spoke nothing on it.”
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM), the main ally of the federal coalition, said more could have been done for the welfare of farmers and those in the social sector.
“We feel it is a missed opportunity,” CPM spokesman Nilotpal Basu said. “Given the kind of revenue buoyancy that has been registered, there was much greater possibility of increasing gross budgetary support for people’s welfare.”
Javdekar said the finance minister paid “lip-service” to the welfare of the farmers.
“He has completely failed the farmers because the farm sector needed additional care. He has only paid lip-service. He has not addressed the main concerns of the sector,” he said.
The Indian economy, Asia’s fourth largest, is expanding at its fastest pace in 18 years and is estimated to grow at 9.2% in the fiscal year ending on 31 March.
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First Published: Wed, Feb 28 2007. 03 27 PM IST