Naveen Patnaik picks holes in Union budget

Even as salaried middle class gave thumb up to Union Budget for revision in personal income tax slabs despite hikes in fuel prices, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik termed it “disappointing” for the people of Orissa.

“While the budget proposals contain special development packages for some States like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, disappointingly, no much development package has been announced for the poorer and backward regions of Orissa,” Mr. Patnaik said here in a statement reacting to Union Budget.

He said against backdrop of soaring food prices, there was no mention whatsoever about the much promised scheme of delivery of rice and wheat to the Aam Admi at Rs. 3 per kg.

“Hike in prices of diesel and petrol is expected to further fuel the inflationary trends in the economy. This measure is likely to have a cascading effect on the prices of all other commodities as well,” Chief Minister said.

Echoing Mr. Patnaik’s sentiments, State Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadai said, “according to Indian government statistics, Orissa is the poorest State in the country. The UPA government has done nothing to eliminate regional imbalance.”

“There is no mention of Orissa’s demand for a stimulus economic package and special package for resurrecting infrastructure battered by natural disasters,” State Finance Minister said.

President of State unit of Bharatiya Janata Party Jual Oram said, “when we were protesting against price rise of essential commodities, the Union Finance Minister has presented a budget that is totally inflationary in nature. Increase in fuel prices of both petrol and diesel would further aggravate price rise in essential commodities.”

Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), however, hailed Union Budget presented by Pranab Mukherjee as historic step to strengthen rural agricultural economy in the country.

“Budgetary provision of Rs. 3,75,000 crore for farmers and 5 per cent farm loan interest would trigger a revolution,” said OPCC spokesperson Arya Kumar Gyanendra.

Meanwhile, Orissa chapter of industry body CII said the budget was balanced, growth oriented and forward looking one. “The budget has focused on inclusive growth due to substantial commitment to the social sector and allocation of 46 per cent of plan outlay towards infrastructural sector,” CII said in a release.

There was a palpable jubilation among IT professionals in the city. “The increase in personal income tax slab will help us in a big way. The step would mean we will have increased salary,” said Aswini Sharma, an IT professional.

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