UPA's farewell interim budget on Feb 16

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Pranab Mukherjee - Indian External Affairs Minister
New Delhi, Feb 16: In its farewell budget which will be presented on Monday, Feb 16 the UPA government is expected to announce more sops to woo the voters defying the convention. Prime Minister in charge and External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee will present the interim Budget or the 'vote on account' in the absence of Manmohan Singh.

The Prime Minister has already signed the Interim Budget related papers and has forwarded them to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Interim Budgets are mainly considered as maintenance exercises. Though during a vote on account no major schemes, tax changes or concessions are announced, people are expecting sops given the slowdown in the economy.

Experts predict that the UPA's interim Budget is likely to increase expenditure on its major programmes like rural development and housing, doubling the fiscal deficit to 5 per cent during 2000-10. Reports suggest that there will be short-term measures for exporters to withstand the global meltdown.

This is UPA's sixth Budget. Past five budgets were presented by the current Home Minister P Chidambaram.

With Lok Sabha polls nearing, the UPA is likely kick off the election campaign offering more sop to economy hit by recession, turning the interim Budget to a populist one.

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OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)

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