Hooda terms Union budget as 'historic'

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Chandigarh, Feb 29 (UNI) Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said about eight lakh farmers of Haryana would be benefitted to the tune of several crores of rupees by the loan waiver scheme announced by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram while presenting the Union Budget today.

The Chief Minister, while talking to reporters here, said the Manmohan Singh government had come up with a historic budget under the guidance of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi ''It would be written in golden letters because of unprecedented incentives and concessions given for the farmers and the 'Aam Aadmi' (common man),'' he said.

Earlier celebrations were held at the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee office where hundreds of jubilant party workers burst crackers amid beating of drums and raised slogans in the praise of Ms Gandhi and Mr Hooda to welcome the budget proposals.

Mr Hooda said the proposal to waive off loans amounting to Rs 60,000 crore of 4000 crore farmers in the country was unprecedented. The complete waiver of loans for marginal farmers owning land up to one hectare and small farmers owning land upto two hectares would benefit a large number of farmers. The one time settlement of loans for other farmers would be an added incentive, he said.

The Chief Minister said that never before in the independent India, any government had announced such a loan waiver. He said this concession has been given to the farming community in recognition of their hard work and might not be considered as an favour to them.

He said the budget proposals were in consonance with the policies of the Congress party. The present Haryana government too had already announced similar incentives for farmers and the common man ever since it assumed office in March, 2005.

He also appreciated that a target of Rs 2.80 lakh crore has been set for agricultural credit.

Mr Hooda said that the Union Budget has been highly appreciated by the people all over the country and he has received reports of celebrations in villages where the people were celebrating it like the festival of Diwali.

He said that nobody could ever imagine of getting such a budget.

He appreciated that with a view to supporting domestic fertiliser production, customs duty on crude and unrefined sulphur had been reduced from 5 to 2 per cent.

Mr Hooda also appreciated the proposal to introduce smart cards in Haryana and Chandigarh for efficient delivery of foodgrains under Public Distribution System on pilot basis. He said all sections of the society had been benefitted in one way or the other.

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