Cong leaders meet Pranab for giving suggestions on budget

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) With rising prices and interestrates causing concern, Congress leaders today gave their wishlist to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during thepre-budget consultations at the AICC headquarters here aheadof the budget session of Parliament beginning on February 21.

31 of the 50 party leaders who attended the one-hourand forty five minute long meeting also gave their suggestionsand views on food inflation, price rise and farmers'' problems.

The meeting was attended by AICC general secretaries,Congress Working Committee members, PCC chiefs and heads ofthe frontal organizations.

In his opening remarks, Mukherjee threw light on thecurrent economic situation and the steps he has taken tostrengthen the economy, sources said.

While expressing satisfaction over the overall economicsituation, Mukherjee is learnt to have also articulated hisconcern on certain issues.

"Party leaders also gave their suggestions on areaslike industry, price and inflation," party general secretaryand AICC media department chief Janardan Dwivedi said.

With Assembly elections approaching in five states WestBengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamilnadu and Puduchery this year,rising prices, particularly of food items and vegetables, hasbeen a worrying factor for the party.

Since the Congress came to power at the Centre via theUPA mode in 2004, Finance Ministers have been interacting withparty leaders ahead of the budget.

Experts say inflation, current account deficit, pressurefor lowering down the import duty, providing level-playingfield to domestic industries and increasing government revenueare some of the problems being faced by the government aheadof the budgetary exercise.

However, there has been some good news for the governmenton the front of inflation this month.

Driven by declining prices of sugar and wheat, theoverall inflation eased marginally to 8.23 per cent in Januaryeven as the prices of vegetables and fruits continued toremain firm. NKD BSP TGB AMR SPG

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