Monday, February 17, 2014

AP’s requests for infrastructure projects ignored in Union Budget: Dr.JP

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today regretted that Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in his Vote-on-Account Budget for 2014-15 totally ignored the requests for many infrastructure projects to address regional imbalances in Andhra Pradesh. There was not even a mention of the Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor.

In a media statement, Dr. JP described the overall budget as gloomy and disappointing. The only silver lining is that the Finance Minister has shown signs of fiscal consolidation after years of dithering. He has limited the fiscal deficit in 2013-14 to 4.6 percent of GDP by deferring some liabilities.

“What is most disturbing is the fall in manufacturing and mining which give a boost to the economy and create employment. At a time tens of millions of young people have remained unemployed, the much-advertised National Skill Development Corporation has imparted skills to a mere 77000 people. Scores of projects entailing investments of lakhs of crores of rupees continue to languish. All that the Government has done in the last one year is to contain the damage caused by prolonged policy paralysis.”

Dr. JP said that agriculture has recorded commendable growth thanks to good monsoons, and not due to any Government efforts. The Union Finance Minister has not made any effort to reduce pulses and edible oil imports or boost their indigenous production through fiscal measures and incentives. He has not made any attempt to promote value addition through processing, considering the continuing food inflation despite the spurt in agricultural production.

Dr. JP said: “The Finance Minister has sought to conceal the UPA government’s fiscal profligacy, shallowness of public policy and absence of resolve to strengthen the economy by rhetorical flourishes. However the fact remains that this is a desperate attempt to defend a weak record in a decade of lost opportunity.”

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