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February 28, 2001                                       Feedback  

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Opp peeved, says Budget anti-poor, anti-labour

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

Opposition parties on Wednesday reacted angrily to the Union Budget of Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, terming it as " anti-poor and anti-labour " while the ruling coalition partners welcomed it and expressed their happiness over it.

" This budget has exposed the poor fiscal management of this government which took away the rights of the working class. For the first time in India, a decisive anti-labour policy which is deterimental to their interests. The rural development programme and the poverty alleviation programme have been blatantly ignored by this government," fumed senior Congress leader Priyaranjan Dasmunshi who is the party's chief whip in the Lok sabha.

He alleged that the budget would bring more than 4.7 per deficit (of the GDP ) and it would adversely affect the growth of the small-scale industry. He said the de-reservation of an important segment of the small-scale industry - especially leather - was regrettable because they would face unfair competition from the encouragement given to its foreign counterpart, Dasmunshi charged.

CPM Lok Sabha leader Somnath Chaterjee described it as a " pedestrian budget which was " not growth-oriented, anti-working class." He pointed out that it would cause serious problems in the agricultural sector.

According to Chatterjee, the government had not even bothered to create new jobs and the de-reservation of the small-scale sector would affect the country's export trade. He alleged that the government, through the budget, was trying to please a small section of the people - the wealthy - by giving them relief in various ways.

However, Trinamul Congress Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya welcomed the budget, saying that it had defied the " faulty speculations of many economic experts and the soothsayers of " economic doomsday."

He pointed out that like the railway budget, the union budget had caught the Opposition leaders and their sympathisers on the wrong foot because the finance minister had not played into their hands by presenting a " popular budget which is bound to be welcomed by the people." He expressed his party's happiness over it.

AIADMK leader P H Pandian underscored that the budget was merely a " repetition " of last year's budget and there were no " allocations for the common man."

Agricultural labours and people below the poverty line were not going to get anything out of the budget which had been designed to please foreign companies, Pandian alleged, adding that " the finance minister has not applied his mind for the poor but has applied it to please the rich."

Congress leader Renuka Chaudhury termed Sinha as " Houdini " because keeping elections in mind, the finance minister had thrown crumbs to the people which, in actuality, " was a sleight of hand."

She said the people would realise the adverse implications of the budget within four months and would find out " how they have been tricked by this government."

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav alleged that the budget was " ankron ka jaal " (web of figures) which was fashioned to befool the poor people including agricultural labours and the have-nots.

Yadav contended that " yeh budget garib, kisan aur mazdoor ko bemaut maar diya hai " (this budget has killed the poor, farmers and labourers without actually inflicting death) and they would soon find out how they had been taken for a ride.

According to Yadav, it was just a matter of time before the people found out the reality and would appropriately deal with the Vajpayee government during impending polls.

The Budget 2001-2002 Special

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