While showering some praises, JD-U leader NK Singh said on Thursday that nine political challenges, including the growing income inequality, backward regions' development, managing inflation and a roadmap on encouraging foreign direct investment, remained under-addressed in the Union budget for 2011-12.
Taking part in the discussion in the Rajya Sabha, Singh began his speech by praising Pranab Mukhejree who combines "talent with luck," and said the finance minister did balancing between conflicting objectives.
The balancing was done between overcoming reform deficits, seeking balance between inflation and growth and adhering to a path of fiscal consolidation, while funding social sector outlays, Singh said.
However, he said there are many challenges that remain "under addressed" in the budget beginning with the growing income inequality in both rural and urban areas.
He called for a coherent strategy to address the problems of endemically backward states in eastern India and especially Bihar.
"If one glances through the revenue foregone statement in the budget then the revenue foregone on account of the special status to some states in the northeast, Sikkim, Himachal, Uttarakhand and J&K put-together is more than Rs 20,300 crore taking into account the components of Income Tax, Excise Duty and Corporate Tax", he said to stress that the 'modest' support that Bihar is asking for through special category state status is "clearly logical."
On the issue of managing high and persistent inflation, Singh said, "Whereas the economic survey recognises that given the incidence of inflation, millions of people could have slipped back into poverty, there is little or no mention in the budget of what is to be done to alleviate them."