Punjab finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa dubbed the Union budget 2012-13 presented in Parliament on Friday as "inflationary", "anti-people" and "directionless".
Dhindsa, who took over as state finance minister on Wednesday, told Hindustan Times that budgetary proposals would put further financial burden on "aam aadmi" who is already reeling under high inflation.
"Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has proposed to raise additional Rs 45,000 crore by hiking peak excise duty and service tax. Against this, a relief of merely Rs 4,500 crore is proposed. All budget proposals will prove to be inflationary," he said in his impromptu reaction.
Dhindsa said that the excise duty hike would particularly hurt small and medium industrial enterprises in Punjab and other states of the country.
He also expressed disappointment with the meager increase for agriculture sector. "The farmer community, which is also facing the pressure of rising input costs, had high expectations from the budget, but its hopes have been dashed. We have been demanding a cut in interest rate for farm loans to 4%, but nothing has been done," he said.
The young minister rued that Mukherjee announced setting up of two mega handloom clusters in Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand and a powerloom mega cluster in Maharashtra, but ignored Punjab, which had many powerlooms and handloom units and potential to further growth and development.
"The proposed excise duty hike on branded apparel will hurt the garment units in Ludhiana. There is nothing for Punjab in it," he commented.