Sonia hopes for a women and farmer oriented budget

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Rae Bareli, Feb 20 : The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today expressed the hope that Finance Minister P Chidambaram keep the concerns of women and farmers' in mind while preparing the budget for 2008-09.

"The Finance Minister will be presenting the budget at the end of this month, and I am sure he will keep the common man's difficulties, especially faced by women and farmers' in mind while preparing the budget," Gandhi said at a Bank of Baroda function here.

She also said that achieving an economic growth rate of between eight to nine per cent was not a big achievement if the common man continued to suffer.

Issues like health and education were key factors for acquiring overall well being among the masses, she added.

Meanwhile, Chidambaram has said that the banks are not doing enough to lend money to the needy.

"Banks are not doing a favour when they lend money to farmers. Banks are discharging their duty when they are lending money," Chidambaram said here.

He further said that the lending ratio in Rai Bareli and Sultanpur District is 35 per cent and it will be increased to 50 per cent in a year.

The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) is projecting a slowdown in farm growth to 2.6 per cent in this fiscal from 3.8 per cent in 2006-07; and the Government is expected to announce some measures to address the issues of farmers and the farm sector in the budget.

Earlier, delegation of women met Chidambaram and requested him to address their concerns in the budget. They also requested him for easy house loans.

ANI

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