LS debates Finance Bill

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New Delhi, Apr 25 (UNI) The Lok Sabha today began discussion on the Finance Bill, 2008, seeking to give effect to the financial proposals of the Union Government for the financial year 2008-09.

The bill is likely to be passed on Monday.

Initiating the discussion on the bill, BJP member Kharbela Swain sought to put the government on the mat on the issue of the farmers loan waiver scheme.

He said the UPA government had been taking benefit for the scheme, though the part of the burden would be passed on to the government that would be in power after the 2009 elections.

Pointing out that the present government had earmarked only Rs 10,000 crore for the loan waiver scheme in the present budget, he said the next government would have to bear the remaining Rs 50,000 crore expenditure for the implementation of the scheme.

Mr Swain said farmers, who had already liquidated their loan arrears, should be compensated by reimbursing the amount. ''If you don't do this, you are penalising honest farmers.'' He said the government should ask all the nationalised banks to enforce the 18 per cent stipulation of rural credit.

Mr Swain appealed to the government to effectively implement the crop insurance scheme.

CPI(M) member Rupchand Pal accused Finance Minister P Chidambaram of being obsessed with new liberal economic policies, and asked him to change his mindset.

He alleged that the budget lacked transparency.

Referring to inflation, Mr Pal said there was no meaning in blaming the international situation for the rising price rise. The government should crack down on black marketeers and hoarders. In this context, he pointed out that more than Rs four million crore had been invested in the speculative market.

Congress member Sandeep Dixit lauded the government for its scheme seeking to relieve the farmers of their indebtedness.

He asked the government to earmark more funds for promoting environment-friendly transport.

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