‘It will push up prices'

Leaders of various Left parties have termed the Union budget ‘anti-people' and ‘anti-Kerala' and predicted that it would aggravate the price situation across the country.

In separate statements here on Friday, they pointed out that the proposal to enforce indirect taxes to the tune of Rs.45,000 crore on the people would have serious implications on the general price situation. Coupled with this was the proposal to slash subsidies. Taken together, the two measures would push up the living costs, they pointed out.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said that the budget proposals would result in plunder of the scant incomes of the people.

The Finance Minister's declaration that subsidies would be paid directly to the beneficiaries and that the ‘Adhaar' number would be treated as the basic document for this was a clear indication that the government intended to scale down subsidies drastically. The Centre's decision to push privatisation in all sectors of the economy was also evident in the budget.

The UPA government had only given indications on all this because of the uncertainty about its majority in Parliament. Once it was assured of majority, all these measures would be implemented in the coming financial year itself, he said.

CPI(M)'s stance

In another statement, the CPI(M) State secretariat said that the budget completely ignored Kerala. The Chief Minister had repeatedly said that the Centre would announce a special package for Kerala.

Although Bengal and Bihar had secured special packages, there was nothing of the kind on offer for Kerala. The only noteworthy offers for Kerala related to the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) and the Kochi Metro. There was no proposal in the budget to address issues in the agricultural sector or to stem farmer suicides.

There was also no increase in Kerala's share of Central levies.

The State should have received special packages to address issues ranging from farmer suicides to endosulfan and the State should have received special consideration for Kuttanad and high range development.

The Central Ministers from Kerala should answer quite a questions on these counts, the CPI(M) leadership said.

CPI reaction

Coming down on the budget, CPI State secretary C.K. Chandrappan said the budget took care of only the interests of corporate powerhouses.

It completely ignored the ordinary people and none of the issues sought to be highlighted through the countrywide general strike by workers had found a place in the budget which was oriented towards greater privatisation, he said.

His party colleague and CPI legislature party leader C. Divakaran the proposal to raise Rs.30,000 crore by selling PSU equities indicated that the government was planning to push ahead with privatisation policies in all sectors of the economy.

RSP version

Terming the budget a pro-corporate exercise, RSP State secretary A.A. Azeez said it was regrettable that the budget did not contain any proposal to support the millions working in the traditional industries or to protect the industrial sector. The budget proposals would push up prices of essentials, he added.

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