Days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed the resolve to bite the bullet to bring down subsidies,key UPA ally DMK on Tuesday raised red flag over the governments move to reduce them. That is not all. The DMK also wants the government to reconsider its plans to raise Rs 30,000 crore from stake sales in public sector undertakings (PSUs).
Participating in the Budget debate in the Rajya Sabha,DMK MP Kanimozhi said people might say that subsidies or schemes to help the under-privileged and the downtrodden are a drain on the economy and the Budget. But,there is something called justice which is the most important thing and to ensure that,we have to continue to uplift these people. Hence,reduction of grants must be seriously thought over before any decision is made, she said.
A vast majority of our people have been systematically denied opportunities and benefits over centuries. If we resolve to undo this injustice then,we must provide subsidies to those who are socially and economically weaker sections of the society…. We have to continue supporting them; we have to reach out to them to pull them out of where they are because we are the ones who have pushed them to where they are, she said arguing subsidies are the only way to ensure that the socio-economic inequality is addressed.
Regarding disinvestment,she asked the Finance Minister to rethink the proposal. Is disinvestment the only solution? For all those citizens and their families who are dependent on public enterprise,this will bring uncertainty and confusion. We must make sure that all possible avenues are explored for restoring the public enterprises so that they continue to provide valuable services to our public, she said.
She also pointed out that the increase in import duty of gold from 2 per cent to 4 per cent is bound to bring pressure on the existing market and this could again lead to smuggling and illegal trading.
Kanimozhi also asked the Finance Minister to raise the Income Tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh,taking into account the monetary pressures faced by the working class.