‘Cash transfer scheme' an attempt to introduce privatisation in a phased manner: CPI(M)

The Union Budget has evoked a widespread resentment from different sections of people. They feel that there is nothing for the common man and the middle-class to cheer about in the budget.

The cut on subsidies to the poor and on fertilisers to farmers has come in for severe criticism from the CPI(M). “The cash transfer scheme proposed in lieu of subsidies is an attempt to introduce privatisation in a phased manner,” said CPI(M) Greater Visakha City Committee secretary B. Ganga Rao. A decision was taken to reduce the amount of subsidies to 1.75 per cent of the GDP in the next three years. He said provisions were made in the budget to extend concessions to the tune of several crores of rupees in the name of increasing supply. The proposal to disinvest government share in Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) is a cause for concern. The budget fuels inflation besides the hike in excise and service tax would cause a heavy burden on the common man.

Party city committee secretary V.S. Padmanabha Raju said the budget hadn't taken the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for income tax exemption up to Rs.3 lakh. The allocation to education, medical and health, and social sectors was reduced in the budget. The plan expenditure was drastically cut. he CPI(M) activists took out a rally from the party office to Jagadamba junction and burnt an effigy to express their resentment at the budget.

Visakha Steel Employees Congress general secretary Mantri Rajasekhar said “there is nothing much in the budget to cheer about for employees and the common man.” The hike in exemption limits from Rs.1.80 lakh to Rs.2 lakh doesn't offer much relief. It could have been raised to at least Rs.3 lakhs.” The reduction of interest rate on PF was another cause of concern for the working class, he added.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions district committee general secretary S. Ramesh described the budget as ‘pro-rich' and ‘anti-poor' and ‘anti-middle class'. The proposal to divest government share in PSUs to the tune of Rs.30 crore is a cause for serious concern.

CPI(M) district committee secretary Ch. Narasinga Rao said the budget would cause additional burden on the poor and middle class. It was unfortunate that no attempt was made to control inflation and to generate employment.Director of Integral Institute of Advanced Management (IIAM) B. Parvathiswara Rao felt that the rural sector was given due importance in the budget through the allocation of funds for development of roads, water supply, and health care in rural areas. Extending financial support to rural banks was a welcome feature and advancing loans to women at a lower interest of seven per cent could encourage women entrepreneurship.

The most alarming aspect of the budget is that non-plan expenditure is nearly 60 per cent of the total budget allocation and the planned expenditure is only 40 per cent. The other challenges are current account deficit of 3.6 per cent, controlling of inflation, and black money and fall in industrial production, he said