Criticising the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday, the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said the budget proposals were of little consequence to the common man, the poor and the farmers.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, Mr. Gowda said the budget holds no promise for the farmers, who toil in the fields to feed the population.

Also, the government's decision to increase service tax and excise duty would hit the common man, he said.

He added that the government had not bothered to come to the aid of sericulture farmers, who were reeling under the impact of the decrease in import duty on raw silk from 31 per cent to 5 per cent from last year.

Silk reelers' woes

“Thousands of sericulture farmers in Kolar, Ramanagaram and other parts of the State were hoping for restoration of the import duty this year. But, their hopes have been dashed,” he said, and attributed the government's refusal to restore the import duty to “pressure from north India”, where large silk weaving industries are located.

Referring to the budgetary proposal to raise Income Tax exemption limit from 1.8 lakh to 2 lakh per annum, Mr. Gowda said women tax payers enjoyed an exemption limit up to Rs 1.9 lakh last year. “This year, there is no such advantage for women IT payees,” he said.

Third Front

To questions on the Third Front, Mr. Gowda said he was at present concentrating on strengthening the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka. There is a need for regional parties to become strong, he said. “I will devote myself to this task.”

Pointing out that the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress were strong political entities in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal respectively, Mr. Gowda said he would be touring the State to strengthen the JD(S) in Karnataka, ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled next year.

Rajya Sabha polls

When asked whether the JD(S) would be fielding a candidate in the elections to the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Gowda said JD(S) leaders would meet on Sunday to decide on the matter.

The party, which has 26 MLAs in the 224-member Assembly, needs at least 45 first-preference votes for the victory of its candidate.

  • ‘Budget has not come to the aid of sericulture farmers'

  • ‘No advantage for women IT payers'