ISLAMABAD - As usual the opposition members of the Parliament were seen criticising the Budget 2009-10 while treasury members and their coalition partners termed it as the best possible finance bill in the given circumstances. Ahsan Iqbal, Central Information Secretary Pakistan Muslim League-N, describing the budget as anti-people and unbalanced said that by tightening the developmental expenditures, the government had shifted the burden on the poor people who were already facing difficulties in having the both ends meet. Talking to media men outside the Parliament Ahsan Iqbal said that the governments economic strategy had badly failed and could not meet the targets set in the previous years budget. He said that instead of curtailing non-development expenses, they had slapped more taxes on the poor. He said that neither the government had stopped their foreign trips with heavy entourages nor they had slashed the number of their 92-member cabinet. He further said that in last years budget Rs 550 billion were allocated for the development projects but only 275 billion could be spent and added that in this state of affair the allocation of Rs 600 billion for development in the current budget would be meaningless. He further said that the education and health sectors were altogether ignored, as their allocations were nominal and no clear picture was given for the development of human resources. He said that government was following the Citibank economy and stressed the need of getting the national economy free from the shackles of the foreign influence, as according to him, it was the only way to serve the cause of the people of Pakistan. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the real analysis on the finance bill would come to fore after the MPs debate on the document and only then it could be determined whether it would be favourable for the people of not. He, however, expressed concern over pending NFC Award, a constitutional obligation not met by the government so far. He also opposed levying five per cent tax on the people having more than Rs 10 lakhs annual income to facilitate the IDPs. Chief of Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao) Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said that instead of giving relief to the people, the rulers had put an extra burden on them in shape of imposing more taxes and withdrawing the subsidies. He said that 15 per cent increase in salaries was adjusted against 15 per cent inflation and the government servants would remain high and dry. He also expressed concern over no mention of the NFC Award in the budget. Federal Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that in difficult circumstances their government had presented the best budget with a lot of relief to the poor while corrective measures toward improvement of various sectors including industry and agriculture. He said that government had allocated funds for Bhasha Dam in the finance bill and assured that by next year the country would be free from loadshedding. Terming the budget an 'incoherent and meaningless document PML-Q central leader and former chief minister Punjab Ch Pervaiz Elahi Saturday said that the federal budget 2009-10 was the reflection of the governments disappointing performance. The budget does not match current economic and political conditions of the country, he said, adding that the budget document lacked any policy and vision. He said that the countrymen were crying for bread and butter, while the government intended to meet the targets by levying taxes on the poor and taking foreign debts. Ch Pervaiz Elahi said that the volume of foreign loan had crossed 50 billion dollars while the government had also made arrangements for another loan of four billion dollar from IMF. The allocated amount for health, education and social welfare sectors was a joke with the nation, he said. Criticising the huge amount allocated for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Elahi said the government should unveil programmes to stabilise the poor economically. These huge funds for financial assistance to the poor from Zakat funds would only make them mere beggars. Instead, the government should devise plans to invest in small businesses so that the poor could earn themselves, he added. The government has announced 15 per cent interim relief in the salaries of the government employees while governments own released documents reveal that inflation has surged by 33.2 per cent in the current year, he observed. He said that the sole purpose behind launching Benazir Tractor Scheme was to oblige PPP workers. Former federal minister and PML-Q MNA Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat said the salary increase as announced in the federal budget for fiscal year 2009-10 was far below than the inflation rate of the country. Current inflation rate is over 22 per cent while the salaries have been increased just 15 per cent. It means the burden of seven per cent inflation would have to be borne by the common man, said Hayat. He was of the view that the budget showed that the PPP government had deviated from its manifesto of roti, kapra and makan as the budget contained no relief in all the said sectors. PML-Q Central Vice President and MNA Sheikh Waqas Akram said that the budget was disappointing as there was nothing, which could bring hope to the common man. Waqas, who was wearing a black band around his arm to mourn the killing of Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, said that after the budget speech, he wanted to wear another black band.