Staff Correspondent

`It will not help the agricultural sector'

HUBLI: Pralhad Joshi, MP, has termed the Union Budget "pro-industrialists and pro-multinational companies" and said it will not help the agricultural sector.

In a press release, Mr. Joshi has taken exception to the announcement of tax rebates for aerated drinks manufactured by multinational companies.

Mr. Joshi has said that Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has left out small-scale industries, which contribute to the economy in their own way. The Finance Minister has not considered a proposal to reduce the 16 per cent excise duty on small-scale industries having a turnover of more than Rs. 1 crore.

In the context of the World Trade Organisation and globalisation, it was expected that the Finance Minister would present a Budget that would prevent further damage to the economy. But for some changes in allocations, is a continuation of the last year's Budget, Mr Joshi has said. Mr. Chidambaram, who had promised to double the loan amount given to the agricultural sector, has only increased it from Rs. 1,41,500 crores to Rs. 1,75,000 crores. There is no proposal to continue support to farm produce and no mention about framing a national agriculture policy. Levying tax on cooperative societies under Section 80 P is detrimental to the cooperative movement.