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Who called FM names, who praised him

Last updated on: July 6, 2009 

Who called FM names, who praised him

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India Inc welcomes Budget with reservations

India Inc on Monday welcomed the focus on reviving economic growth to nine per cent as also the indications for bold tax reforms, but expressed regret that the Minimum Alternate Tax was raised and Security Transaction Tax was let to continue.

"Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's efforts to revive the economy back to 9 per cent (growth) is in the right direction," ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar said on Monday.

"I am happy on behalf of the whole industry that Fringe Benefit Tax has been abolished, but I am a little bit unhappy about MAT," top industrialist Rahul Bajaj said.

The MAT rate was hiked to 15 per cent from 10 per cent. Kochhar felt that the Securities Transaction Tax too should have caught the government's attention.

"Health care sector has been ignored. We had been expecting a boost for the health care infrastructure, but nothing has been said. Budget was mute. We are disappointed," Shivinder Mohan Singh of Fortis said.

The stock market tanked 700 points mid-way during Mukherjee's Budget speech, but recovered partially at 1315 hrs.

The industry also welcomed restoration of seven year tax break on natural gas production, saying it will help attract foreign bidders for NELP-VIII.

"This was always there. It is not a new benefit. We are very happy about the clarification as it ends the ambiguity," said P M S Prasad, President and CEO (Oil & Gas), RIL.


Image: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee arrives at Parliament to present the 2009-10 Budget in New Delhi.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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PM hails Pranab's Budget

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's Budget for 2009-10 presented in Parliament on Monday, saying that the finance minister 'has done an admirable job'.

The main aim of the budget is to minimise the impact of global recession, said the prime minister,

Singh said its focus was to ensure that short-term requirements of the economy as well as medium-term goals were achieved.

He said handsome additional allocation has been made for inclusive growth and other flagship programmes like Urban Renewal Mission and National Rural Health Mission. "It is essentially a rural development-oriented budget," the prime minister added.


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh waves as he arrives at Parliament on its opening day for the Budget Session in New Delhi.
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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BJP dubs Budget 'unimpressive'

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday dubbed the general Budget as timid, tepid and unimpressive, while the Congress hailed Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for doing an 'excellent job'.

"I do not see any great message in the Budget. It is timid, tepid and unimpressive," senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said.

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said, "The Budget is a very judicious mix of short term stimulus, medium-term prudence and long term-structural reforms."

Asked why the markets have not reacted positively, Tewari said the finance minister does not look only at the market while presenting the Budget.


Image: Former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.
Photographs: Kamal Kishore/Reuters
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Nasscom happy with Budget

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In a statement soon after the Budget Speech was delivered by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday, Nasscom said it welcomed the Budget Proposals 2009-10 aimed at achieving the dual objective of enhancing inclusive growth in India and boosting economic activity in the country.

'The Budget recognizes the contribution of the IT-BPO industry to India's economic progress and has provided the necessary measures to boost the sector, Som Mittal, president, Nasscom said.

'The finance minister's decision to extend fiscal benefits available to the industry under Section 10A/10B for one year will help the industry mitigate the impact of the current economic environment and help India retain its competitiveness,' he added.

Pramod Bhasin, chairman, Nasscom said, 'Many of the initiatives in this year's budget recognize the role the IT BPO industry can play in promoting inclusive growth and creating substantial employment opportunities in the country. The industry will be keen to partner with the government in expanding e-governance initiatives including modernization of employment exchanges, the UIAD project, and smart cards for healthcare services so as to achieve enhanced governance. Increased capital outlays on the education and infrastructure sector will also address growth challenges that the country has faced.'


Image: Nasscom president Som Mittal
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Bankers welcome Budget

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Leading bankers on Monday welcomed the Budget for 2009-10 and have said that with a lot of tax rates left unchanged, there will be more money in the hands of the common man.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented the Budget on Monday and left many tax rates untouched even as he did away with the Fringe Benefit Tax, among others.

"I think I am overall very happy with the Budget," HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh told private news channel CNBC TV18.

Stating that he does not see any reason for being negative on the Budget, Parekh noted that the Finance Minister mentioned the role of the private sector and private finance in the speech.

"You must understand that he mentioned the role of the private sector and private finance . . . Disinvestment will happen. The government needs more money . . . I don't see any reason for (being) negative at all," he noted.

ICICI Bank Chairman K V Kamath said the Finance Minister has held taxe rates and made it into a neutral Budget in terms of taxes.

"The important part (in the Budget) is holding tax . . . (This would be) pushing money into (people's) hands and it is certainly good for the economy," he said.


Image: Reuters
Photographs: Reuters
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Lalu calls it 'balanced'

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RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who had criticised the Rail Budget two days back despite his association with the ruling UPA, however, struck a conciliatory tone and described the Union budget as a "balanced" one.

CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta described the budget as "inconsequential and insufficient" which "fails to address the economic challenges facing the nation".

He said the allocations listed in the budget for various sectors like infrastructure, power, National Rural Employment Guarantee programme and agriculture are "too less".

JD(S) President and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda said there was nothing in the budget for the farmers.

"I am deeply hurt. The farmers and the farming sector have been ignored," Gowda said.


Image: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters
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Higher Plan outlay to accelerate growth: Chidambaram

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Higher Plan outlay in the Budget will provide stimulus to the economy and accelerate the growth process, Home Minister P Chidambaram said.

"The Budget for 2009-10 has been prepared with great skill and wisdom with the objective of stimulating the economy and returning to the high growth path," Chidambaram, who is also a former finance minister said in a statement on the Budget.

Chidambaram, who presented five subsequent budgets in the first UPA government as finance minister, said the total size of the three stimulus packages provided in 2008-09 was estimated at Rs 1,86,000 crore.

The biggest stimulus in the Budget 2009-10, presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is the Plan Expenditure of Rs 3,25,149 crore and the Gross Budgetary Support of Rs 2,39,840 crore for the Central Plan, he said.

"It is hoped that this, together with other measures announced by the finance minister, will give a boost to the economy," he said congratulating Mukherjee.


Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
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Govt biased against Bihar: Nitish

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Slamming Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for allegedly ignoring the demands for special status to Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the union government was biased against the state.

"It is highly unfortunate that the Union Budget is silent on the long-standing demand for according special status to Bihar. There is even not not a word about the promise for giving a special financial package for the state in the FM's speech," Kumar told reporters.

In 2004, the UPA, on coming to power, had promised to grant a special financial package to Bihar and subsequently, just before the results for the last Lok sabha polls were declared, Congress leaders expressed their positive views on the issue,he said.

Stating that the NDA would oppose the "anti-Bihar" budget, the chief minister said the NDA MPs from Bihar would raise strong protests over the issue in Parliament.


Image: Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar.
Photographs: Reuters
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CPI blasts Budget

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Describing the Union Budget as "insufficient" and "inconsequential", the CPI said it failed to address the economic challenges facing the country.

"The allocations listed in the Budget by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for various heads like infrastructure, power, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and agriculture are too less," senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said.

"This Budget is inconsequential and insufficient. It fails to address the economic challenges facing the nation," he added.

He was severely critical of political donations being made tax-free. "This move will benefit parties like Congress and BJP. The corporate sector is not interested in Left parties so we do not rely on such donations. However, other parties will reap benefits through this move," Dasgupta said.

The CPI leader said while "the Budget has made allocation to the tune of Rs 500 crore for Mumbai floods that happened a long time back, it has only sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore for 'Aila' cyclone victims.

"The extent of the cyclone that affected vast parts of West Bengal was too huge to be covered by such a small amount. A city's calamity cannot be compared to the calamity faced by an entire state," he said.


Image: A rickshaw puller moves past a flag of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kolkata.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters
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SP too criticises Budget

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Samajwadi Party, which is extending support to the government, on Monday joined the opposition in ridiculing the General Budget, terming it as "sour", "trepid" and "unimpressive".

SP, BJP, Left parties, JD(S) and BJD were critical of the budget even as the Congress hailed it.

"While the Rail Budget was sweet and sour, this budget is only sour," SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said while reacting to the Budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament.

He particularly said farmers and rural areas have been neglected in the budget.


Image: Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Photographs: Pawan Kumar/Reuters
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