New Delhi, Feb 28: Finance Minister P Chidambaram today (Feb 28, 2006) painted a buoyant picture of the economy and said that the government would work to achieve a 10 per cent growth rate even as he substantially raised allocations to social sectors, including the eight flagship programmes of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government.
Presenting his third Budget in the Lok Sabha, Mr Chidambaram said 8.1 per cent GDP growth for 2005-06 was the result of the policies of the UPA Government.
The biggest increase in allocations came for the Bharat Nirman Programme which has six components -- rural drinking water, electrification, rural roads, irrigation , housing and telecom. The programme has been put on the mission mode.
Thrust to agriculture in being maintained in this year's Budget too with institutional credit being hiked from Rs 140,000 crore to Rs 175,000 crore. There were other sops as wekk for the farming community, including slashing of short term interest rates to the agriculture sector from nine per cent to seven per cent with upward limit of Rs three lakh.
Notwithstanding the see-saw battle between the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry on the Gross Budgetary Support, the Finance Minister announced a hike of 20.4 per cent to the GBS at Rs 172,788 crore.
The government will encourage FDI in infrastructure areas with the requirement from this source being pegged at 150 billion dollar.
From a services hub, the Finance Minister said, that the policies will be so directed to make India a hub of manufacturing with emphasis on textiles and automobiles.