‘Disappointing Union budget by a lame duck Centre’

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday expressed disappointment with the union budget saying it was presented by a 'lame duck' government at the Centre and would lead to price rise due to hike in excise and service taxes on various goods.

"The union budget presented by a lame duck government at the Centre is useless and disappointing. There is nothing substantial in the financial proposals to boost the economy or to benefit the people", he told reporters.

The UPA government appears not to care much about price rise nor has it proposed anything to remove regional imbalance, he said, adding, the budget made him feel that the Centre lacked confidence to deal with economic concerns.

The union budget has allocated Rs 1000 crore in the next fiscal as assistance to eastern states for the second green revolution-related works as against Rs 400 crore last year but Bihar would get only Rs 50 crore, which would be insufficient to boost its agriculture sector.

Besides, he said, there was no mention in Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's budget speech about increase in the special package to Bihar to compensate for losses due to its bifurcation.

Despite meeting Mukherjee recently and apprising him about the state's financial condition, Kumar said, there was no mention about increasing the special package.

The Centre, he said, had apparently not appreciated the measures taken by the NDA government in Bihar to boost its agriculture sector through a road map which has resulted in a record paddy and potato production in the state.

"The budget did not talk about giving incentives to us for the turnaround of the agriculture sector", the chief minister said.

The Centre also appeared to lack vision to address economic issues, particularly in the agriculture sector and to mitigate regional imbalance, he said and criticised it for increasing indirect taxes to compensate for the loss arising out of minor decrease in direct tax.