No attempt to kill Small Savings Schemes; FM

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New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) Dismissing charges by the Left that the government was out to finish the Small Savings Schemes, Finance Minister P Chidambaram gave a categorical assurance that the interest of the depositers would be fully safguarded and said net collections under the schemes were positive.

" I cannot direct the depositers to put their money only in small saving schemes in Post Office, when the number of savings instruments in the market today are manifold", Mr Chidambaram said in his reply to the Calling Attention motion moved by CPI veteran Gurudas Dasgupta in the Lok Sabha.

The debate on small savings in the House saw a literal clash of titans with charges being hurled at the Finance Minister by Mr Dasgupta and Mr Chidambaram using his tact, legal skills and oratory to repeatedly state that he would not get provoked under any circumstances.

In a sharp attack, Mr Dasgupta held Mr Chidambaram as being solely responsible for the recent electoral defeats of the ruling Congress party by insisting on pursuing anti-peoples policies and inability to contain inflation.

The Left leader charged that the government was out to gradually kill the small savings schemes so that money instead flowed into the stock markets and other speculative activity.

Mr Chidambaram said net collections-- gross collections minus withdrawals, which includes redemptions on maturity in each financial year-- of small saving instruments were up by four per cent during the last financial year.

At this point, Mr Dasgupta was up on his chair demanding figures for net ecollections under the schemes.

Mr Chidambaram obliged him, saying that net collections under these schemes in 2006-07 were of the order of Rs 1,56,000 crores and withdrawals including monies returned on maturity were to the tune of Rs 1,11,000 crores. Thus, the net collections were up by as much as Rs 45,000 crores.


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