Govt. Policies -
ISLAMABAD : Mixed response was witnessed on the budget for fiscal 2009-10 with the ruling coalition appreciating different measures incorporated in the budget and the opposition describing it gimmickry of words.
Ministers, Ministers of State and Parliamentary Secretaries lauded allocations for IDPs, salaries increase, allocations for social sector while the opposition members claimed there was nothing concrete in the budget and salaries increase was insufficient in view of rising inflation.
"Budget would open new horizons of progress and prosperity of the country. It is a balanced and poor friendly budget," said Minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
"Amidst financial meltdown confronting the world economies, it is the best budget," he said, the government has focussed all areas including industry, agriculture and social sector.
"Rs 50 billion allocation for IDPs is commendable," he added.
Commenting on the budget, Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani said the government has prioritized law and order and appreciated allocation for social sector to help mitigate masses suffering.
He said increase in salaries would provide immediate relief to salaried class.
Minister for Industries and Production Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo described the budget as 'the best' despite that the economic crisis in the country.
He said the budget contains several relief measures for industry as well as other sectors, and once these proposals are implemented properly, things would change for the poor and working class.
He applauded Rs 70 billion allocation for Benazir Income Support Programme and said, it would transform the lives of poor segment of the society.
Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti described the budget as 'poor friendly' and said, it would provide relief to the downtrodden, farmers, labours and other segments of society.
He hoped infrastructure development, human capital, social sector development, poverty reduction, promotion of investments and exports and agriculture sector development to the benefit of the poor.
He also hailed the step being taken for easy access to justice and allocation of four billion rupees for providing tractor to small farmers under the Benazir Tractor Scheme.
Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour appreciated announcement of special package for Internally Displaced Persons and described the budget as 'people friendly.'
"As a whole it is good budget. No better budget could be presented in prevailing economic situation," he added.
Minister of State for Interior Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi hailed the decision of doubling the budget for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and said, it would mitigate poor masses suffering.
"The budget is people friendly and will provide relief to the every section of the society," he said.
"Despite numerous challenges, the government has announced pro-poor budget," he said.
Meanwhile, the opposition politicians have expressed reservations on various steps proposed in the budget.
Opposition leader Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat said salary increase as announced in the annual budget is far below than the inflation rate of the country.
He claimed, current inflation rate is 22 percent while the salaries have been increased just 15 percent. It means the burden of seven percent inflation would have to be borne by the common man.
He said, the budget seems like deviation of the government from its popular slogan of `roti', `kapra' and `makan.'
Faisal Saleh Hayat called for immediate steps to curb inflation as it had made the lives of the poor.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal defined the annual budget as gimmickery of words that he cited lacked sufficient relief measure for the poor segment.
"Nothing concrete and consolidated proposals could be seen in
the budget. The government should have taken stock of the problems
of poor," he said.
He said cosmetic and short lived measures would do no service for overall changing the economic situation in the country.