The union government's interim budget for 2014-15 has evoked mixed reaction in Hamirpur, with the Congress hailing the budget as “progressive and pro-people”, and the Bharatiya Janata Party terming it “a big failure of the UPA on all fronts”.
Senior BJP leader and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal alleged that the central finance minister had “rolled over fuel subsidies to the next year to show better fiscal numbers”, and “nothing concrete” had been mentioned in the budget for the common man. “It is nothing but a big failure of the ruling party on all fronts,” he added.
Dhumal added that if some “pro-people” decisions were taken, it was “only in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections”. “Moreover, these decisions will not help people, as the code of conduct for the elections would be announced within a week. The government's decision to grant 'one rank, one pay' facility to ex-servicemen was taken belatedly, as the government feared that it would be the NDA government's first step when it came into power at the Centre,” he alleged.
The BJP leader said “no steps had been taken in the budget to curb price rise and help poor and middle-class people”. “The budget is mum on income tax proposals, and if the UPA comes into power again, more taxes would be added,” he alleged.
Dhumal alleged that farmers had been cheated in the budget, which was mum on the agriculture sector, the backbone of the Indian economy.
Cong hails budget
However, senior Congress leader and Hamirpur marketing board chairman Prem Kaushal hailed the budget proposals saying that Himachal Pradesh “would greatly benefit from the interim budget in the shape of a `400-crore grant and the 'one rank, one pension' policy for its valiant jawans”.