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Updated: March 18, 2012 19:16 IST

Critics should be more realistic: Pranab

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Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with MoS, Finance, Namo Narain Meena at a post-budget meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma
The HIndu
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee with MoS, Finance, Namo Narain Meena at a post-budget meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Rejecting criticism that the Budget was not bold or reformist, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday asked the critics to be “more realistic” to political ground realities.

“I am a bit disappointed,” he told PTI in an interview here while answering a question about reactions to the budget he presented two days ago.

Acknowledging that the natural expectation would be that “all corrective measures” should have been taken in the budget because it would be difficult to do so in 2013 ahead of elections a year later, the Minister said that the budget was not just “merely the economic theory of what should be done or what should not be done”.

“Budget is also a political document in the sense that it requires the approval of Parliament,” he emphasised adding, if budgetary proposals do not receive approval of coalition partners it becomes difficult to implement.

Mr. Mukherjee pointed out that it was not possible to consult allies before the budget because the proposals were confined Prime Minister and Finance Minister only.

Therefore, wider consultations were possible only after the presentation of the budget and “we shall have to take various stakeholders on board”, he said.

Conceding that his indirect tax proposals may have “some inflationary impact”, Mr. Mukherjee said he did not not have a mechanism to prevent manufacturers from passing on the burden to the common man.

At the same time, he pointed out that inflation was not not only due to taxation, because when inflation was 10 per cent, manufacturing inflation itself was the highest in nearly two years.

Even when the food inflation was negative, manufacturing inflationary pressures continued even upto last month. Therefore, one cannot conclude that the levies will lead to inflationary pressure although he did not not rule out some inflationary impact.

Defending the 2 per cent increase in the Excise Duty to 12 per cent, the Finance Minister said it was 14 per cent in 2008 when he had brought it down to 10 in view of the global economic crisis.

Now he has raised it but still not not to the level of 14 per cent, he added.

Mr. Mukherjee also said that he has aligned Service Tax and Excise Duty which was essential to move towards GST (Goods and Services Tax) because we are advocating that and state and central taxes should be the same for goods and services.

“So assuming that when we move towards the GST, the state taxes will be around 12 per cent. These are some of the considerations, which apart from resource mobilisation, weighed in his mind,” he said.

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Mr. Mukherjee did admit its the common man who will bear the burden of accountability for taking the stakeholder and the colliation partner into confidence.

from:  Rupam Chakraborty
Posted on: Mar 18, 2012 at 21:35 IST

Completely agree with Mr. Mukherjee. Allies like DMK did not consult before proceeding
with 2G auction. They went against wise advice of PM. TMC is another party which has a
track record of being whimsical. Even Vajpayee was troubled by Mamta. Now she wants all
freebies for Bengal and doesn't want to resort to sound planning to restore the economy of
Bengal. She wants to have MukulRoy to be railway minister. Public memory is not short to
forget Mr.Mukluk Roy behaviour when he refused to visit an accident site on the advise of
prime minister. I would strangle suggest disowning of corrupt DMK and a whimsical party
like TMC. At times I feel it is prudent for the Congress to resign rather than running a
coalition with such partners.

from:  Vishwa
Posted on: Mar 18, 2012 at 21:35 IST

Pranab stating the reality behind the budget document. Trivedi got sacked for increasing the fares. Government has to roll back on revenue expectations. The political and economic dynamics determines the budget and that is the way it should be in democracy. What is not accetable is corruption, cronism and nepotism. Now a days people don't believe in what government says and in such scenario it is hard to govern.

from:  K.V. Rao
Posted on: Mar 18, 2012 at 21:30 IST

If the Congress party and its ministers are truly peoples' well wishers
let them give ultimatum to the voters that congress would not form
government unless atleast a simple majority is given to the party. A
good man need not fear any one.

from:  M.V. Rangaraajan
Posted on: Mar 18, 2012 at 21:20 IST

What Mr.Pranab Mukherjee tells, holds good only for a government formed by a party after securing at least a simple majority, winning elections. In the case of a coalition government, having allies inducted as ministers and having a responsibility in keeping the government afloat, his statement is out-of-place. When his patry had obtained the support of allies, all have to be consulted. Otherwise allies have equal rights to criticise and analyse threadbare the budget or whatever political document relating to the coalition government. He cannot shirk the responsibility of the cabinet. The allies are not his subordinates, they are equal partners in the cabinet. Our politicians,vis-à-vis Congress are yet to understand a coalition government.

from:  K. Sugavanam
Posted on: Mar 18, 2012 at 19:39 IST
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