The Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the Union Budget presented by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Friday.

In a statement released here, chamber president E.M. Najeeb and secretary S.N. Raghuchandran Nair said the Budget had given a major boost to infrastructure development and commerce and industry.

The statement said the Budget would boost the agriculture sector in the State with an allocation of Rs.100 crore for Kerala Agricultural University.

However, a hike in service tax and excise duty was likely to lead to price rise, the statement said.

The chamber also welcomed the Railway Budget presented by Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi recently.

Privatisation bid alleged

Meanwhile, the Trivandrum Residents' Apex Council (TRAC), in a statement released here, criticised the Union Budget, alleging that it favoured privatisation and foreign investment in all sectors, including agriculture.

Council president Amaravila Ramakrsihnan Nair and secretary K.T. Roy said the State government failed to convince the Union government of the needs and expectations of the State from the Union Budget and the Railway Budget.

The statement said the State government was responsible for the neglect meted out to Kerala in the two Budgets.