But Congress hails it as pro-development

As expected, the Union budget presented by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday has evoked mixed reactions among political parties in Karnataka with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) describing it as the one that has failed to address any of the problems of common man or the ailing economy, including inflation and agrarian crisis, while the principal Opposition Congress hailed it as development-oriented.

In a release, BJP national general secretary and MP Ananth Kumar said the budget had tightened the noose around the middle class and the common man by continuing its policy of not providing respite from inflationary policies and steep income tax. “Besides providing lip-service, there is no concrete proposal to contain inflation especially the crippling rise in food prices and other essential commodities.”

Mr. Kumar termed the announcements for creating the Chennai-Bangalore and Bangalore-Mumbai Industrial Corridors as mere eyewash with no budgetary allocation. The demand by the people of Bangalore for providing a Rs. 5,000-crore special package to the Garden City as given to the other Metro cities has been ignored,” he said.

BJP State president K.S. Eshwarappa said: “On the whole, Mr. Chidambaram’s budget does not bring any enthusiasm or cheer to any sector”.

He expressed fear that mounting finance deficit and reckless external borrowings may finally force global rating agencies to downgrade India, putting the nation’s financial position in jeopardy.”

Balanced, says Congress

But Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G. Parameshwara hailed the budget and described it as the one which is “pro-economic development.”

He said the budget was “balanced and aimed at the country’s holistic development.” Aimed at inclusive growth, it meets aspirations of every section of society. Besides focussing on sectors like education, health, agriculture, irrigation and commerce, the budget created conducive environment for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), he maintained.

Similarly welcoming the increase in the Customs Duty on import of raw silk from the existing 5 per cent to 15 per cent, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily said the move would help in protecting the interests of the domestic silk sector.

Blaming the large-scale import of silk for the problems being faced by the sericulture industry in Karnataka, which accounts for 45 per cent of the country’s silk production, Mr. Moily claimed that he had convinced Mr. Chidambaram to increase Customs Duty.

‘Jugglery of numbers’

Janata Dal (Secular) State president H.D. Kumaraswamy described the Union Budget as a “mere jugglery of numbers and has nothing to offer for either farmers or common man.” In a release, he said there was nothing for women, youth and the poor. Agriculture sector had been completely neglected, while no measures have been taken to curb inflation.

“The budget is anti-people, anti-farmer and anti-common man and has ignored the middle class, which is facing the brunt of escalating prices,” he noted.

Janata Dal (Secular) floor leader in Legislative Council M. C. Nanaiah said there was nothing new in the budget and it had not offered anything to farmers, employees and the middleclass.

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