Saturday, Jun 19, 2004
Front Page |
Tamil Nadu |
Andhra Pradesh |
New Delhi |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By K.V. Prasad
NEW DELHI, JUNE 18. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and the United Progressive Alliance chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, today heard suggestions from the UPA constituents and Left parties ahead of the Government's first Union Budget. The Left parties emphasised that the Government should reconsider the recent hike in the price of cooking gas.
At the three-hour exercise held this evening at the 7 Race Course Road residence of Dr. Singh, the leaders of the UPA constituents and the Left parties stressed that the budget, to be presented on July 8, should be "pro-poor and pro-farmer'' and reflect the commitments made in the common minimum programme (CMP).
The stress was on agriculture, irrigation, employment, public sector revival, public distribution system and special programme for Dalits and minorities. Most of the constituent inputs also showed concern for regional development.
The senior Congress leader, Ambika Soni, told newspersons that the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, had promised that the budget would be prepared keeping in mind what was discussed this evening and it would meet the twin objectives of "growth and financial discipline.'' The CMP would be the base document in the overall preparation of the budget.
Besides the discussion on the budget, the gunning down of a Mumbai college student, Ishrat Jahan, by the Gujarat police was raised by Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM) with the CPI general secretary, A. B. Bardhan, suggesting that an all-party delegation be sent to Gujarat for an inquiry.
Earlier in the day, the leaders of the Left parties were invited for a separate meeting with Dr. Singh. Mr. Chidambaram and Ms. Gandhi also attended.
Mr. Bardhan said he had suggested that the first budget of the UPA should reflect the direction shown in the CMP. He said the Left parties were aware that the CMP was for five years but the first steps should take the UPA on course.
Mr. Bardhan said that for instance besides taking steps for land reforms and redistribution of surplus land as a measure to fight poverty, the Government should take steps to augment water for irrigation as well as for drinking water purposes through the execution of small and medium irrigation projects, water harvesting and de-silting of ponds, a task that would also generate employment.
The other measures include revival of sick industries, such as the Hindustan Antibiotics, and increasing expenditure in education and health. He said that while the CMP spoke of a certain percentage, it was necessary to earmark funds that showed an increase from those allocated by the previous Government. He also suggested that the rate of interest on provident fund and small savings should not be reduced.
Mr. Bardhan reiterated that the Government should reconsider the decision to hike the price of cooking gas and asked Mr. Chidambaram to reduce the excise duty so that the impact of the hike in international prices could be absorbed without increasing the prices for consumers.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2004, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of