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Updated: March 1, 2011 02:22 IST

Most insensitive exercise: Jayalalithaa

Special Correspondent
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Jayalalithaa says the budget will benefit only small segment of people

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary Jayalalithaa has criticised the Union budget, saying it will benefit a very small segment at the cost of the vast majority of people.

“Budget 2011 is not just a damp squib, it is one of the most insensitive exercises as far as the common man is concerned,” she said.

In a statement, Ms. Jayalalithaa said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had taken the option of sidestepping the issue of food inflation altogether by doling out statistics to claim that it had come down.

By making an impassioned demand to fight corruption “collectively,” Mr. Mukerjee has shirked the Centre's responsibility in this critical area of corruption. He has also not outlined any tangible proposal to bring back huge sums of money lying in banks in tax havens abroad in his five-fold strategy to deal with black money, she said.

While a few sops had been granted to prop up the sagging agriculture sector, the burgeoning middle-class segment had been neglected by and large. Food subsidies had come down and there was nothing for this segment, except a marginal hike in income tax exemption limits, which was responsible for bringing the UPA to power the second time.

She welcomed the doubling of salaries of anganwadi workers and bringing down the age criterion for senior citizens from 65 to 60.

However, bringing healthcare and health insurance under the service tax net has offset the benefit extended to senior citizens. “What the Finance Minister gives with his left hand, he takes away with the right.”

Imposition of service tax on internal and foreign travel would affect development of tourism. There were no schemes for the power sector. Unemployment had been left totally unaddressed.

Corporate India had more to exult with the focus being on further liberalisation of foreign direct investment and disinvestment. Both these had come in for considerable criticism in the past. “Yet, persisting with these reflects the insensitivity of the UPA government to public opinion,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.


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