Monday, February 16, 2009

Interim budget a damp squib: Lok Satta

Lok Satta Party expressed its dismay and disappointment over the interim budget presented by acting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, who asserted that extraordinary economic circumstances warranted extraordinary measures did not walk his talk by announcing any new package to arrest and reverse the downtrend in the Indian economy.

It was tragic that he preferred propriety to addressing the grave economic crisis in the country. The present Government might not get another opportunity to address the problems as its policymaking mechanism gets paralyzed once the election process is under way, said Lok Satta vice-president Mr. DVVS Varma, General Secretary Mr. V. Laxman Balaji.

They said that the global economic recession coupled with liquidity crunch has led to curtailment of production in a number of sectors ranging from automobiles to information technology, gems and jewellery to leather and textiles. Millions of people have been losing their jobs and livelihood in the wake of the economic crisis stalking the country.

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee did not unveil any package to address the grave problems facing the economy. Instead, he chose to list out the accomplishments of the UPA Government. Although higher allocations to some of the flagship programs of the UPA Government like the NREGS and NRHS are welcome, the UPA Government has failed to seize the opportunity of presenting an interim budget to mitigate the sufferings of common people.

Mr. Varma pointed out that poverty could be eradicated only if quality health care, education and job oriented skills and employment opportunities are provided to all and agriculture and allied sectors including traditional occupations are made remunerative. “Perpetuation of poverty suits the traditional parties because they will have an abundant reservoir of unskilled, unemployed and underemployed people ever ready for being hired as political workers.”

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