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Chidambaram has let down the nation: Dr. JP
Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has let down the nation by squandering the golden opportunity to pull the country out of the economic morass, said Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.

Addressing a media conference on the Union budget, Dr. JP recalled that the economic crisis today is in some ways worse than in 1991 going by the fiscal and current account deficits. While the 1991 crisis was the result of license-permit raj, today's crisis is attributable to the sins of omission and commission of the Government. The dismantling of the license-permit raj unleashed the animal spirits of entrepreneurs in 1991 whereas the Government now has let go the opportunity of undoing its blunders.

Dr. JP congratulated Mr. P. Chidambaram on limiting the current year's fiscal deficit to 5.3 percent and next year's to 4.8 percent. But that alone will not rescue the economy. Dr. JP said that Mr. Chidambaram rightly talked about the importance of 'opportunities, education, skills, jobs and incomes' in eradicating poverty. Although he repeated the Lok Satta idiom, he has done precious little to address them.

He said that Mr. Chidambaram has not focused on many things all of which have a great bearing on creation of jobs and generation of incomes. There is no rule of law and corruption has become the order of the day. The power and transport sectors are in an abysmal state. The country is forced to import millions of tons of coal every year although it has billions of tons of coal reserves. Education is in a parlous state. The incomes of farmers and farm workers have been plummeting year after year.

Dr. JP pointed out that successive Government's focus on vote bank politics for short-term gains has landed the country in the crisis. Andhra Pradesh is faring no better. The Economic Survey highlighted that growth in Andhra Pradesh has been decelerating whereas it is galloping in States like Bihar. Bad governance is to blame for the present state of affairs.

The leader welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on the Babli project in Mahrashtra and said there is no reason why Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra cannot come to an amicable settlement when India and Pakistan could sort out a dispute over Bagligarh.

Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, Lok Satta Party State Working President and Mr. P. Bhaskara Rao, Convener of the Federation of Independent Farmers' Associations, took part in the media conference.

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