Jayalalithaa says the budget aims at growth without equity
CHENNAI: The Union budget has been prepared keeping in mind the welfare of farmers and the middle class, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said on Wednesday.
The provision of farm credit of Rs. 2,25,000 crore to 50 lakh new farmers through banks, extension of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme from 200 districts to 330 districts and the increase in outlay for education were laudable, the Chief Minister said.
He said the budget indicated several measures for reducing the prices of essential commodities.
Thanking Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for allotting Rs. 50 crore to the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, the Chief Minister welcomed the allocation of Rs. 4,000 crore for the improvement of rural roads and for the scheme to provide incentives to employers in the organised sector to provide regular employment to the physically challenged.
Slamming the Union Budget as one aiming at growth without equity, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa said it would "only further marginalise the voiceless poor of the country, leaving them to fend for themselves or look for Government doles."
The budget displayed the "twin faces" of the Government at the Centre - "the benign face for the rich and the derisive face for the poor," she said.
Farmers had not gained anything. The interest rates on agricultural loans had not been brought down. No effort had been made to facilitate any increase in income for farmers. The concession sought to be given, on the one hand, in the form of higher tax exemption had been taken away, on the other hand, in the form of additional educational cess, she said.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president M. Krishnasamy hailed the scholarship scheme for students in class IX to XII in rural areas as a revolutionary one, Mr. Krishnasamy said the move would brighten the academic prospects of rural children.
S. Ramadoss, founder of Pattali Makkal Katchi, said the budget aimed at development. As anticipated by everyone, importance had been given to farm sector and farmers, he said