Congress hails one-rank, one-pension

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Congress-hails-one-rankNEW DELHI: While the Opposition parties cried foul that P Chidambaram’s interim budget was aimed at votes, the Congress congratulated the Government for making crucial announcements in it.

What attracted the Congress most was the announcement on ‘one-rank one-pension’ in the Budget speech. The party believes that the decision will help the party to reach out to about three million retired defence personnel.

Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said he had met a number of delegations on the issue and that all of them felt that it is a necessary and a historic step.

“Our forces are always ready to fight for the nation and people. It is our duty that we provide them all support. I thank that the Government, the Prime Minister and the Congress President for taking this historic step. Our Government is fully behind them. They always stand behind the nation,” he told reporters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party said Chidambaram juggled his numbers to come up with a fiscal deficit of 4.6 per cent.

“Revenue deficit of 3.3 per cent clearly indicate that the government has not made any effort to contain its fiscal profligacy,” BJP president Rajnath Singh said.

While welcoming the announcement of one-rank one-pension, he said the Centre dragged its feet on the issue for years.

Singh said there was no clarity and direction to address the issues at manufacturing and agriculture sectors. Singh claimed that the next Government will be formed by his party and it will put the country on a higher growth trajectory.

The Left parties said the budget was ‘patently anti-poor.’ CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that the common man faced twin troubles – lack of employment and high inflation – in the last fiscal and the Government did not do anything to address it.

Yechury questioned the Government’s claim that the fiscal deficit has come down and said that decrease in the Plan expenditure, particularly in the social sector, helped the Centre to make this claim.

Regional parties are also unhappy. Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said after the Raghuram Rajan Committee Report on a Composite Development Index for States, States such as Odisha and Bihar expected some special assistance from States.

“States like Odisha had made a turnaround in economy despite financial difficulties. We are disappointed with this interim budget,” he said.