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A budget that lacks roadmap: Manmohan Singh

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President Pranab Mukherjee with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and former prime minister Manmohan Singh during a Banquet hosted in the honor of the Bangladeshi President at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, on Dec 19, 2014. Also seen Rashida Khanam.

President Pranab Mukherjee with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and former prime minister Manmohan Singh during a Banquet hosted in the honor of the Bangladeshi President at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, on Dec 19, 2014. Also seen Rashida Khanam.
President Pranab Mukherjee with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid and former prime minister Manmohan Singh during a Banquet hosted in the honor of the Bangladeshi President at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, on Dec 19, 2014. Also seen Rashida Khanam.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, an eminent economist,  criticised the union budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, saying it has good intentions but no adequate roadmap.

Speaking to NDTV news channel, Manmohan Singh, who was prime minister of the Congress-led UPA government for 10 years, said the NDA government has not been able to capitalise on the advantages, like low crude prices and of other commodities.

He also slammed the figure of Rs.15,000 crore net tax revenue as too low.

Manmohan Singh, who was architect of the 1991 economic liberalisation of India, told the news channel: “Mr. Jaitley is a very lucky finance minister. He has inherited an economy which is in reasonably good shape… inflation is under control, not because of anything we have done, but because the international prices of petroleum and other commodities have gone down.

“I had hoped that he would use this lucky phase to give a real big boost to stabilise the economy, strengthen the macroeconomic framework… with all the nitpicking, the net tax revenue will increase by only Rs.15,000 crore. What is Rs.15,000 crores in a budget which runs into Rs.15-16 lakh crores?”

The former prime minister said Jaitley could have done much more for fiscal consolidation and macroeconomic stabilisation.

He also felt the agriculture sector has not received the attention it needed.

“Agriculture has done extremely well under the UPA but in the last one year, there have been signs of stress and strain in the agriculture economy. The budget has nothing to deal with this situation. Seventy percent live in rural areas, their well-being has not received adequate attention,” he said.

He said though various funds were being established, “it is one thing to pronounce intentions but another thing to convert them into a solid action programme on the ground.

“My worry about the budget is it has good intentions but does not have adequate roadmap to ensure that those intentions are converted to concrete tactical realities.”