Oppn corners Govt on issues of inflation, blackmoney

New Delhi: The Opposition on Wednesday criticised the general budget, saying it has failed to address issues like inflation, black money and fiscal prudence, and also lacked initiatives to propel growth.

Initiating the debate on the 2011-12 Union budget, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has not laid down any roadmap to tame rising prices.

"We regret to say in this entire budget there is no roadmap for tackling inflation and people are left in the lurch. I don`t see this budget will propel growth," he said.

Prasad said while foodgrains are rotting, inflation has seen a meteoric rise against a backdrop where 80 per cent children and 70 per cent women are suffering from malnutrition.

It is a "classic case of gross mismanagement" as a huge quantity of foodgrain is rotting outside godowns at a time when people are suffering due to hunger, he said, adding Opposition-ruled states were discriminated in allocations from the Central pool.

He said the government has failed to bring down inflation and was only making "pious wish" that it would come down next year.

No concrete measures have been announced in the budget to fuel growth in the agriculture sector and attract educated youth to farming, he said.

Criticising the government`s economic policies Prasad said it is creating disparities as "poor are becoming poorer and rich richer."

"There is uncertainty as far as the poor is concerned," he said, adding a few millionaires have amassed majority of the nation`s wealth.

Against such a scenario, it was a lethal attack on poor when the government proposes to impose five per cent service tax on certain health care services.

"Please withdraw it completely because it is going to make life of poor people miserable," Prasad said adding that while government stresses withdrawing subsidy to poor, revenue foregone on corporate concessions was on the rise.

Launching a scathing attack on government for not coming up with details on blackmoney, he said the country wanted to know at least the amount stashed abroad, number of individuals involved and action taken against them.

On Pune-based stud farm owner Hasan Ali Khan, he demanded to know why the government swung into action only after intervention of the Court.

Talking about the fiscal deficit, he said government should tell how it will be brought down as the budget does not provide any clear picture on it. Textile sector has got a raw deal in the budget and no concrete steps have been taken to boost employment, he said.