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PM says 'growth-oriented' budget by Chidambaram

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Feb 28: Asserting that the 2006-07 Budget is an 'outstanding' exercise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today (Feb 28, 2006) said the growth and social justice imperatives and the National Common Mimnimum Programme were taken into consideration to give a fair deal to the growing economy and the commonman.

Reacting to the Budget minutes after Finance Minister P Chidamabaram presented it in Parliament, Dr Singh said the gross tax revenue was going to increase by 20 per cent in three years. "The GDP ratio will also go up from 9 to 11 per cent." "Leave something for the later days", Dr Singh told presspersons when asked why the Fringe Benefit tax was not abolished as was widely speculated. He, however, added that the Finance Minister had announced some concession to the business sentiment.

He said the budget was an 'excellent combination' of different factors with the emphasis being laid on infrastructure, social sector, social justice and economic growth.

When his attention was drawn to the fact that the budget proposed several new expenditure, Dr Singh said, "growth does generate more resources which are ploughed back into the system". In this context, he pointed out that "growth is a necessary condition and not a sufficient condition". "This is the reason why we are doing all that we could to achieve a tempo of growth".

Dr Singh said huge social spending was proposed in the budget because of the programmes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) could not be adequately taken care of by market forces.

"Many of the social spending programmes were new initiatives and it would take more time for formulating viable scheme for them. "We have put together a framework of social spending in two years".

"Hereafter... in the next three years...all these programmes will be effectively implemented". In this context, he pointed out that the government had put in place very powerful safeguards. The Right to Information Act gives our people the power to know how the government works and how money is spend.

Secondly, a major chunk of social funding would be financed by Panchayati raj institutions. "The Panchayatiraj system, if functions well, will be another powerful check to control expenditure.

The Prime Minister said the Budget met the needs of the economic growth giving it a stimulus. No new taxes had been imposed. The Budget has also addressed the security needs of the country, he said. There was a strong emphasis in the Budget to give relief to farmers by giving them short term loans upto Rs three lakhs at the interest rate of 7 per cent, Dr Singh pointed out.

"This is a major step towards ensuring that the farmers are not burdened with indebtedness", he observed.


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