GUWAHATI, Feb 28 � Terming the Union Budget as �insensitive� and falling short of addressing any of the pressing concerns of the nation and its people, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader and former Chief Minister Prafulla kumar Mahanta today said that the Budget was silent on how to tackle the issues of mounting inflation and growing food prices, corruption, black money, unemployment, etc.
�The Budget is a total failure in addressing the people�s problems, and for the North-east in particular it does not carry any positive message. It is a routine exercise that can at best be described as an acknowledgement of the deteriorating problems but does not show the way out,� Mahanta said at a press conference.
Mahanta said that the 8 per cent excise tax even when VAT was in place would amount to double taxation, frustrating the very objective of VAT aimed at effecting a uniform tax structure. �Then the Government should withdraw VAT,� he added.
Attributing a highly liberalised export policy to be fuelling prices of many essential foodstuffs such as onion, Mahanta said that while Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had spoken of �agriculture rebounding�, he did not at all explain how it could be so. "Unemployment has been mentioned but nothing stated on how to contain it,� he said.
Mahanta said that the Budget had nothing in terms of sops for the North-east. �Universities and IITs of West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been given grants but nothing for such institutions of the North-east. Similar is the experience in the matter of flood and erosion of Assam,� he said, adding that just as the Railway Budget, the Union Budget too proved to be a damp squib for the region.
Accusing the Congress of patronising corruption, Mahanta said that by withdrawing the suspension on former minister Ripun Bora convicted on corruption charge, the party left none in doubt as to its corrupt character.