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February 28, 2001                                       Feedback  

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Indiscriminate liberalisation: West Bengal CM

BS Bureau

This Union Budget has been presented at a time when there has been a sharp fall in the rate of growth of production in industry and agricultural sector, resulting in massive unemployment. There is also a persistent rise in prices of essential commodities.

The adverse effects on our economy have been caused due to the government following an indiscriminate policy of liberalisation, after submitting to the conditionalities of IMF loan and WTO agreement.

While the collection of customs duty on imported items has been reduced by Rs 21.28 billion, that of excise duties on domestic production items has been increased by Rs 46.77 billion.

There is a proposal for moving towards social decontrol of prices of petroleum products, sugar, fertilisers and drugs, dilution of the provisions of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and central withdrawal from public distribution system.

Moreover, social protection given to the workers under the Industrial Disputes Act has been sought to be withdrawn, and there has been a move against the small scale sector in terms of de-reservation of 16 items previously earmarked for this sector.

Moreover, there has been an assault on the small savings-related resources of the states, and although a surcharge augmenting the National Calamity Contingency Fund has been imposed on excise duty on all items, including essential commodities, no mention has been made of any additional allotment from the NCCF for West Bengal despite the national-level calamity affecting 218 million of people.

There has been, unfortunately, a fall in plan outlay, in real terms, for rural development and employment programmes as well as for urban employment programmes.

Source: Business Standard

The Budget 2001-2002 Special
The Rediff-Business Standard Budget Special

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