New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Slamming the union budget as lacking in potential, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Monday said the budget has dampened the prospects of economic growth and taken the nation back to the pre-liberalisation era.
Attacking the government on the taxation front, Jaitley said India was among the most highly-taxed nations.
"Every imaginable activity has been brought under taxation," Jaitley said, initiating a debate on the general budget in the Rajya Sabha.
He also said that it was adding to the burden on the common man.
"Almost 50 percent of the common man's income goes in these taxes," he said.
He said while people had expected the budget to give a boost to the economy "the budget has ended up doing exactly the opposite".
The opposition leader blamed "two power centres in the government" and lack of ally support for the situation.
"The north block (finance ministry) taxes us. 10 Janpath (Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence) decides where we spend the money," he said.
"The economic policy consensus is intrinsically linked to the political environment. When politics is gentlemanly, we will disagree politically but agree to retrieve the economy... when politics is manipulative and revengeful, you alone will suffer the responsibility for economic decline," he said.
The opposition leader also expressed concern over the growing fiscal deficit, slow GDP growth and growing burden of debt.
Participating in the debate after the BJP leader's speech, Congress' nominated member Mani Shankar Aiyar lauded the budget, saying the UPA government made India pass through the global economic crisis.
"It is his duty to be unhappy," Aiyar said pointing at Jaitley.
Aiyar said the budget balanced economic needs with the political needs and presented a balanced picture for sustained growth.
"The budget is a mosaic of economic imperatives with political realities," he said.
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