Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said here on Friday that the Union Budget for 2010-11 would accelerate price rise and privatisation.
The prices of petrol and diesel would go up by about Rs. 3 a litre as a result of the hike in basic duty. This was in addition to the increase in import duty on crude oil.
Terming the Budget as anti-people, the Chief Minister said the proposals would increase the hardships of the common man. Price rise will escalate and Kerala would be impacted more, being a consumer State.
The Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherji had stated that the recommendation of the Kirti Parekh committee for lifting of price control on petroleum products was under consideration of the government. This meant that a bigger blow on the people was to follow the Budget.
Mr. Achuthanandan noted that the Union government proposed to raise Rs. 25,000 crore through disinvestment. The disinvestment of public sector units was the policy of the UPA government, and that was being speeded up.
He added that the construction sector would be hit by an increase in cement prices.
The Chief Minister said Kerala’s needs had been neglected in the Union Budget as well as in the Railway Budget. There is no mention of the Kochi Metro Rail Project. On the other hand, there were proposals for dismantling the public distribution system and privatisation of FCI godowns. The Finance Minister had cut the subsidy on fertilizers even as he promised that the agriculture sector would be redeemed from crisis.
Mr. Achuthanandan said the award of the 13th Finance Commission had also gone against Kerala. This was disappointing and objectionable. The State’s share in Central tax revenues had been cut from 2.6 per cent to 2.34 epr cent. Thus the State would lose Rs. 5,000 crore over the next five years. Kerala had represented to the Commission that half the Central revenues should be allocated to the States. However, the Commission recommended devolution of only 32 per cent of the revenues, making an increase of only 1.5 per cent.