More emphasis on investment in agriculture, increasing expenditure on education and tackling price rise were some of the demands made by members in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday during the discussion on the General budget for 2011-12.
Supriya Sule (NCP) hailed the budget but said crop loans given to farmers were not sufficient as it took care of only 40 per cent of the total cost involved in raising a crop. She wanted the government to give more subsidies.
She suggested that export of surplus cotton and sugar should be permitted. She also demanded tax relief to urban cooperative banks.
Nishikant Dubey (BJP) said the government had not done enough in the budget for its three target segments of youth, minority and women.
He maintained that the government had removed all subsidies for the minority community, while for women it had only increased the remuneration for anganwadi workers.
Dubey said the government should increase expenditure on education to 6 per cent from the present 3.39 per cent of GDP as recommended by the Kothari Commission. He demanded increase in expenditure on agriculture.
“You are fudging the budget somewhere,” he alleged, adding that manipulation is being done everyday in the functioning of SEBI.
Dubey said government should not open the insurance sector to FDI from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
Baliram (BSP) described the budget as “directionless, disappointing and one which drives the poor to tears”.
“No special provisions have been made for the poor which could end their hunger and poverty,” he said, adding foodgrains are rotting in godowns while people are hungry.
He said Indian black money stashed abroad should be brought back.
Namo Nageshwar Rao (TDP) said according to the Economic Survey, India is the 5th most indebted country in the world. He alleged that the government was “mesmerising” people that the country is doing well.
“There should be an agriculture budget. 25 per cent of the GDP should come from agriculture,” he said.
Shivkumar Udasi (BJP) said the net income of farmers is much less than that of government servants. He demanded abolition of MPLAD fund.
Jyoti Mirdha (Cong) said government should allow FDI in developing infrastructure related to agriculture.
Shailendra Kumar (SP) said the General Budget is for the rich and affluent classes as it has grossly ignored the downtrodden including SC, ST, OBC and minorities.
“It also anti-women because there is no provision for enhancing the exempted taxable income limit for the fair sex in this budget,” he said.
Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) said the budget is anti-farmer and anti-poor as there is nothing much to boost farm output.
He said, “The budget has not addressed the problem of regional imbalance. There is no mention of under privileged classes of society including SC, ST and OBC.”
Arjun Ray (JD-U) slammed the government for manipulating the statistics to create an illusion that development is taking place in the country.
Ray said the government need to do focus more on development than laying emphasis on numbers including GDP growth rate.
Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (Trinamool) said there is not enough provisions in the budget to provide health facilities across the country.
She pointed out that the government has not dealt with inflation properly which led to skyrocketing of prices.
Lalji Tandon (BJP) said the budget is not for the ‘Aam Adami’ and criticised government for imposing service tax on farm input like vermicompost.
He said all policy makers in the UPA are economists, including Prime Minster and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, who are manipulating the statistics to prove their points.
Tandon said the budget has not made any provisions for the common man.
P L Punia (Cong) alleged that opposition members had not read the speech properly, leading to protests from them.
Punia thanked the government for giving Rs three crore to the NABARD and waiving loans of silk weavers.
Former Prime Minister and JD-S leader H D Devegowda wanted the government to take measures to unearth the black money within the country and then go after persons stashing illegal money in foreign lands.
He recalled that the United Front government headed by him had launched a Voluntary Income Disclosure Scheme to unearth black money within the country.
Devegowda wanted the government to set up a Sericulture Mission on the lines of the Horticulture Mission for all round development of silk growers.
P Lingam (CPI) said the Union Budget favoured only big industrial houses and ignored the common man.
S Shariq (NC) wanted the government to increase MPLADS funds from Rs two crore at present to Rs 10 crore.
He wanted Kashmir to be connected to the rest of the country by rail and all weather roads besides more relief to displaced Kashmiri Pandit community.