Budget should deliver: Cong tells FM

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) Senior Congress leaders today asked Finance Minister P Chidambaram to make sure that his Budget 2008-09 ''delivers,'' creating a ''positive public perception'' that the UPA government is serious about reaching the benefits of the country's high economic growth to all sections of people.

The ''Budget should deliver'' was the thrust of the suggestions made by as many as 38 CWC members, AICC General Secretaries and office bearers of the youth and the women's wing of the party, Mr M Veerappa Moily told newspersons.

Mr Chidambaram gave a patient hearing to the leaders at a meeting held at the AICC headquarters here which lasted about two and a half hours, Mr Moily said.

The ''social engineering'' being carried out by the government through its policies and programmes would have to be clearly reflected through the Budgetary process while keeping the economy vibrant and stable and fiscal management in tact, the party leaders told the Finance Minister.

The high GDP growth should not be restricted to the ''upper crust'' of society and for this state interventions would have to be made. The rising prices of essential commodities figured prominently at the meeting which felt that the growth story would be ''flooded away'' if the trend was not checked, Mr Moily said, quoting the suggestions made at the meeting.

Acknowledging that the government had already made interventions for effective implementation of various schemes, the meeting felt that there was need to carry these forward and ensure that no one was left untouched by the growth, clocking at over 9 per cent for the past three years.

Young leaders of the party said that since Mr Rahul Gandhi was heading the Youth Congress and the NSUI, the ''hopes and aspirations'' of the young generation were on a new high and that the Budget should ''respond positively.'' The party leaders thanked Mr Chidambaram for placing the country on a high growth trajectory with the guidance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mr Moily said.

It was felt that funds were available in plenty for implementing programmes and policies for the welfare of the downtrodden and the marginalised sections and what was necessary was proper monitoring.

Dr Singh, while launching the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) had announced that the plan was primarily meant for the poor. ''The political, social and economic agenda has already been been set'' by the Prime Minister and Ms Gandhi, Mr Moily pointed out.

The Budget to be presented on February 29 would be the fifth Budget of the UPA government since coming to power in May 2004.

UNI SN SK DS1525

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