Friday, Mar 01, 2002
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In a statement here, she said the decision to impose a service tax on a number of new items was welcome, but more services should have been brought under this net. The reduction in interest rates for small savings would act as a disincentive to small investors and the salaried class would be hard hit by the decision to reduce rebate under Section 88 of the IT Act.
The measures to increase availability of agricultural credit, the establishment of a countrywide integrated market for agricultural products and the creation of a new corporation for agricultural insurance would give ``a fillip to the farm sector.'' The setting up of an Urban Reforms Incentive Fund with a corpus of Rs. 500 crores would help progressive States like Tamil Nadu.
Urging the Government to withdraw the hike in the prices of fertilizers, kerosene and LPG and in postal rates, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the State Government strongly opposed the imposition of a 5 per cent surcharge on all taxes, the proceeds of which would go to the Centre.
`Withdraw fertilizer price hike'
The Union Government should withdraw the hike in the prices announced for urea and other fertilizers and restore the subsidy to previous levels, the DMK president, M.Karunanidhi said. While the budget was welcome overall, the increase in prices announced for cooking gas would affect the lower middle class. The upward revision in kerosene prices would affect people on the lower strata as also villagers.
The DMK chief recalled that when the Centre announced a hike in kerosene prices, the DMK Government decided against an upward revision.
The former Union Finance Minister, P.Chidambaram, said that in the run-up to the budget presentation, it appeared the Government had understood the basic problems affecting economy and that it would take bold steps to tackles these. ``Unfortunately, the hopes have been belied,'' he said. The budget should have tackled the issue of ``poor demand'' and ``laid out a road map for promoting investment.''
Also, while a ``very largescale'' additional resources mobilisation has been attempted, ``there is no matching effort on the expenditure side.''
The PMK founder, S.Ramadoss, who highlighted many positive aspects of the budget, said the growth-oriented exercise would help farmers and the rural poor. But negative aspects such as the upward revision of kerosene, LPG and fertilizer prices were bound to hit the poor hard. These should be reconsidered.
Describing the budget as ``anti-people,'' the TNCC president, E.V.K.S.Ilangovan, said it only added to the burden of the poor.
The CPI State secretary, R.Nallakannu, and the CPI (M) secretary, N.Varadarajan, said the budget would affect the people ``severely.''
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