Bhubaneswar, Feb 26 (Calcutta Tube) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee proposing loans for farmers at two percent less than the market rate was appreciated by some in Orissa but many criticised the union budget presented by him Friday for the impending fuel price hike and for neglecting the state’s backward regions.
‘The proposal of loans to farmers at a subsidized rate of five percent is a good step. This will bring some respite to millions of farmers who have been struggling hard due to erratic rainfall during the last crop season,’ said Abinash Sahu, a farmer.
‘It is a good budget looking at the present economic status of the country,’ leader of opposition in the state assembly and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh told IANS.
‘He has tried to give maximum importance to education and agriculture. He has also done this keeping an eye on common people,’ he said.
But criticism wasn’t far away for proposing measures that would increase the price of diesel, patrol, cement and gold. Some also said that the subsidy offered to farmers would not help.
‘The present institutional credit is meeting less then 24 percent of the credit need of the farmers,’ said Jagdish Pradhan, a farmer and social activist.
‘So instead of reducing the rate of interest, government should have trebled or made several times increase in the institutional credit allocation,’ he said.
‘Cost of agriculture inputs is going up and this type of subsidy is not going to help,’ Pradhan added.
‘This budget will put fuel into the fire. Poor people will suffer more as the rise in the price of essential commodities is likely to go up,’ said Seikh Kalim, an economist.
‘Special state-specific announcements have been made for some other states, but he did not consider Orissa,’ said Mohan Jena, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) member in the Lok Sabha.
Said Orissa Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadei: ‘The government has just revised the flagship programmes running now. There has been additional allocation. But that is not substantial. There is nothing big for the common man.’
‘There is nothing specific to arrest price rise and inflation. So the inflationary trends would continue,’ he said.
‘There has been allocation for other backward regions, but the central government has neglected the backward region of Kalahandi, Koraput and Bolangir (KBK) of our state,’ he added.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) termed the budget ‘anti-people’.
‘It is an anti-people budget. Common people will suffer,’ senior state CPI leader and Lok Sabha MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai said.
‘This budget suits the needs of the affluent and the rich class,’ he added.
‘This budget will have a devastating effect on common men, deprived and marginalised section of the society,’ state president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Jual Oram said.