OUR STAFF REPORTER FAISALABAD - Industrial, traders, political and religious circles have condemned the federal budget presented by the government and alleged that 'sleight of hand instead of mitigating, will aggravate economic problems. In a survey conducted by The Nation here Saturday, they said that the outgoing fiscal was yet another year of uphill economic struggle for the vast majority of Pakistanis due to decelerating growth and rising prices. Investment dried up, unemployment escalated and poverty increased. They added that the economic survey released the other blames the countrys poor economic performance on a number of persisting factors. Deteriorating security conditions, flood losses, rising global oil prices, stalled external capital flow and delays in fiscal and tax reforms are the main culprits that have slowed growth and strained the governments resources, leading to a huge build-up in domestic and foreign public debt for financing the budget. They said that it was shocking that investment has contracted to 13.4 per cent of the size of the economy from 22.5 per cent in 2007. They said that domestic savings are down to 9.5 per cent from 16.3 per cent in 2006. Growing energy shortages and a higher cost of borrowing continue to haunt private investors and affect industrial output. Public-sector enterprises continue to eat into meagre resources at the cost of public services like education; development expenditure formed only 3.4 per cent of GDP. Some were of the view that the government has taken several tough and politically unpopular decisions like reducing untargeted food and energy subsidies. Though it has dithered on implementing many crucial fiscal and economic reforms under pressure from its allies and the opposition, it has pledged to move ahead with its plans to eliminate subsidies, bring the powerful into the tax net, prudently manage its debt, revamp public-sector companies and limit its inflationary borrowings. They said that recovery remains fragile, but it can give space to launch the country on the path of growth. If the reform agenda is implemented honestly and boldly, we can move faster in our race with other South Asian economies. BAHAWALPUR - The new Budget for fiscal year 2011-12 received mixed reaction for all the segments of society here and they expressed different views about the new budget. Some termed it a balanced and public-friendly budget under the prevailing conditions of the country while some were of the view that it was all to befool the masses and merely an eye-wash as the fact was that no government had ever bothered to evolve sound strategies to enforce the announcements as there was no surety that no mini budgets would disturb the people. They were of the view that if government succeeded in controlling price-hike and generation of revenue through fair way of tax then it would be a good sign to provide relief to the masses. HAFIZABAD - The Kissan Board Gujranwala Division has disapproved the federal budget and termed it anti-growers. KB Gujranwala Division President Amanullah Chattha said that prices of oil, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs were already sky-rocketing and levying additional General Sales Tax and elimination of subsidy on agri installments would further increase the prices of tractors, fertilizers, pesticides. He said that harvesting would not be affordable to the growers. He demanded the federal government to withdraw addl GST and restoration of subsidy on agri inputs.