New Delhi: Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee's budget Monday earned bouqets from
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who congratulated him for "doing a
good job to curb inflation and ensure sustained and inclusive
economic growth", but the opposition slammed the budget as "timid
and disappointing" that evaded the issues of the 'aam aadmi'
Hailing the union budget as an effort to curb inflation and
inclusive growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Mukherjee has
"done a good job".
"The finance minister deserves congratulations for maintaining a
high growth rate despite the adverse international economic
climate," Manmohan Singh, an economist himself, said in an
interview to national broadcaster, Doordarshan.
"This is a budget that matches the challenges our economy faces --
sustained growth, inclusive growth, equitable growth and thus, a
determined effort to curb inflation," Manmohan Singh said.
But Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari termed
the budget as a "disappointment".
In a statement issued from Nagpur, Gadkari said: "The budget is
directionless and has failed to provide any relief to the 'aam
aadmi' (common man) reeling under severe inflation and
sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities."
Gadkari said the budget was silent on "rampant corruption and
menace of black money".
The BJP chief said the personal income tax relief is "cosmetic and
has ignored the plight of working women".
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said the budget had
failed to "address the serious problems affecting the people and
"The massive Rs.20,000 crore cut on major subsidies on fuel,
fertiliser and food come as a rude shock," the CPI-M politburo
said in a statement.
The CPI-M said that a big increase in fuel prices was likely in
the near future.
"The finance minister's stubborn refusal to reduce excise and
stubborn refusal to reduce excise and customs on petro products
coupled with cut on subsidy indicates massive increase in prices
of fuel soon," the statement said.
"This exposes the anti-people character" of the UPA II government,
the CPI-M said.
The prime minister, while congratulating Mukherjee, said: "You
cannot please all the people. The finance minister has done as
good a job as possible."
He was responding to a query on why there was no increase in the
income tax exemption limit for women.
"This is the budget which meets all the challenges of our economy
and polity in the next fiscal year," Manmohan Singh said.
Asked why there was no amnesty scheme to unearth black money,
Manmohan Singh said such schemes had not succeeded in the past.
"I don't think they have succeeded as permanent cure for black
money. We need to have a systems' reform in holistic manner to
deal with this menace," he said.
BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said the
budget was "timid and unimaginative".
Sinha said Mukherjee was never known "for being a reformer in the
"That's why the budget is completely devoid of reforms. The nation
was expecting a bold budget. But this is a timid budget," Sinha
"Overall, the budget reflects the abandoning of the aam aadmi
agenda by the UPA-II government," the CPI-M said.