Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has declared the Union budget as ‘disappointing’, and said there was nothing in it for Tamil Nadu to cheer about.

In a statement here on Monday, she said the slowdown in manufacturing sector growth as informed by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in his budget speech was caused by poor macro-economic management of the UPA government.

The Minister had deviated from convention by announcing excise duty cuts on select items for a short period, with an eye on the general elections, she said. In a letter to the Minister a few days ago she had demanded that rice be included under ‘agricultural produce’ and not be subject to service tax, she said.

‘Paper flower’ budget

The All India Moovendar Munnani Kazhagam has termed the budget a ‘paper flower’ without any fragrance. In a release, party president N. Sethuraman said the Union government had declared that it had been able to successfully produce 1 lakh megawatt of electricity. If that is so, then why did the Centre refuse to give State government its rightful quota of electricity, he asked.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi has welcomed the withdrawal of service tax on rice. He also welcomed the decision to create 10 lakh new jobs and reduction of price of mobile phones. However, there was no mention of the continual increase in the price of petrol and diesel. Though there were not many concessions, it was by and large a welcome budget, Mr. Karunanidhi said in a release.

TNCC reaction

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president B.S. Gnanadesikan has praised Mr. Chidambaram for presenting a budget which had responded to a long-pending demand of defence personnel.

According to him, by allotting money for those in the lower socioeconomic strata to set up business and for the Nirbhaya fund, the government had expressed its commitment to the weaker sections of society. By reducing excise duty on two- and four-wheelers the government proposed to reduce the burden on the middle classes. Allotment of funds for developing seven new airports and nuclear power stations and agriculture would ensure infrastructure development, he said.

Viduthalai Ciruthaigal Katchi president Thol. Thirumavalavan said lakhs of students who were studying courses in information technology in engineering colleges had not found employment due to the slowdown. Since students were unable to repay their education loans, the Union government should waive the entire loan amount of the students.

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