Sitaram Yechury, polit bureau member, CPI(M): The budget has failed to address many of the vital problems of the common people, particularly the peasantry and the unemployed. But it seems it has been prepared on the basis of concerns of the NCMP. Two central problems of the economy -- agrarian crisis and unemployment -- have not been adequately addressed and the proposed outlays for agriculture, health, education and employment generation are low and inadequate for meeting the NCMP goals.
[Government allowing FIIs entering government bonds and security market] will make government finances vulnerable to the state of speculative market. Allowing Indian mutual funds to invest abroad creates potential for financial volatility and allows domestic savings to flow out of the country at a time when the government claims that huge amounts of foreign savings are required for domestic investments.
Far from extending coverage of public distribution system to prevent starvation deaths, the government has actually slashed the budgetary allocation for food subsidy.
D Raja, CPI: Allocations on crucial sectors like agriculture, rural employment guarantee scheme, Bharat Nirman, education and healthcare were token and not substantial. The government seems to be suffering from the complacency of an 8.1 per cent GDP growth and investment boom.
Debabrata Biswas, general secretary, Forward Bloc: The government
refused to broaden the tax net and failed to tax the corporates by imposing taxes on capital gains and turnover.
The Left demand for creating a price stabilisation fund for agricultural products had been ignored.
CPI-ML (Liberation): Budget proposals bonanza for billionaires and arms merchants and a cruel joke on job seekers and indebted farmers. The staggering allocation of Rs 89,000 crore for defence sector has no rationale in an environment of improving ties with Pakistan and other neighbours. This may be a bonanza for arms merchants and middlemen with high political connections, but it certainly bodes ill for long neglected areas like public health, education and rural development. While the UPA government has funds for Vedic chanting and Ram Lila, it has once again refused to address the plight of the debt-burdened farmers who continue to be driven to suicidal deaths.
Gurudas Dasgupta, CPI: This budget has deceived the common man. The tax system is regressive. Heavy concessions have been granted to the corporate sector and spending on education and healthcare has not been increased to the expected levels.
Basudeb Acharya, CPI(M): The UPA government has not paid any heed to the suggestions given by the Left parties on resource mobilisation and continued to burden the common people to raise resources and is a regressive budget.
Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, Congress, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister: It is gratifying that there is a similarity in approach and focus between the state and central governments..
N Chandrababu Naidu, TDP chief: Directionless and anti-poor. Whenever Congress is in power, the interests of Andhra Pradesh are ignored. Not a single project has been sanctioned for the state in this budget.
Atal Behari Vajpayee, BJP, NDA chairperson: The budget
provisions would lead to spiraling prices, hit the common man hard and there was
nothing to cheer about for the farmers.
Suresh Prabhu, Shiv Sena: The Finance Minister has passed the test, but has failed to get distinction.
Ramji Lal Suman, Samajwadi Party: The budget is anti-farmer. Adequate provisions have not been made for the agriculture sector as also medium and small industries.
Ramdas Athawale, RPI: No special compensation package for Scheduled
Castes and Tribes and loan waivers for farmers.
Ananth Kumar, BJP: While corporate industries got the cream, common man has lost his bread.
Sushma Swaraj, BJP: It has hidden more and revealed less. The budget has increased service tax across the board from the present 10 per cent to 12 per cent and there is no mention of agriculture. Generally Chidambaram serves a sweet dish, which results in food poisoning the next day. This time he has not even served us a pudding and even if there is a sweet dish it has artificial sweeteners in it. Chidambaram had inherited a healthy economy and he should give credit to the earlier NDA Government. What we had inherited was a mess.
Yashwant Sinha, former Finance Minister, BJP: The government would like us to believe that the growth rate would accelerate from 8-10 per cent. If this was the declared objective, the budget is a disappointment. We would have expected the Finance Minister to present a bold and courageous budget. The government has lost an opportunity.
Amarinder Singh, Congress, Chief Minister of Punjab: The Union Budget speaks volumes of the United Progressive Alliance's firm commitment to putting the country's economy in the mode of fast track of overall socio-economic development.
Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal: A blue print for the benefit of the rich, with no concrete policy or proposal for the upliftment of the poor, the farmers and the unemployed. The budget is anti-poor, with the average farmer, average trader and average entrepreneur feeling badly let down. The hike in service tax is clearly anti-growth and will hit the middle rung of the population the most.
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