Budget should be pro-people: Sonia

February 21st, 2008 - 12:05 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh), Feb 20 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday asked Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to keep hardships faced by the common man, women and farmers in mind while preparing the budget, which will be presented Feb 29. Gandhi, addressing a function during her daylong visit to her constituency Rae Bareli, indicated that the government should not be happy with the high growth rate alone.

“Real happiness will come when the common man’s difficulties are wiped off. Health and education for all is a key to achieving real happiness,” said Gandhi, who was accompanied her son and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi.

“The finance minister will be presenting the budget at the end of this month and I am sure he will keep the common man’s difficulties in mind,” the Congress chief said at a loan distribution camp organized by Bank of Baroda.

“I would like to appeal to the finance minister to take into account the hardships faced by the common people in general and women and farmers in particular, while preparing the budget for the new financial year,” she said.

The Congress president had earlier expressed her concern about the failure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s flagship programmes to reach the poor and the underprivileged.

Gandhi, also the UPA chairperson, urged banks to be considerate enough to the weaker section in issuing loan repayments.

According to her, the government schemes were not making the desirable impact on the weaker sections. “Paper works often affect the component of benefit in the government schemes,” Gandhi pointed out.

Agreeing with Gandhi, Chidambaram reminded the banks that giving out loan was their duty. “Banks are not doing a favour when they lend money to you,” he told the farmers gathered here.

“They (banks) are discharging their duty when they are lending money,” Chidambaram said.

Addressing the gathering, Rahul Gandhi, however, praised the Congress-led UPA government’s performance.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora and Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal were also there.

Earlier in the day, the Congress president and Rahul Gandhi attended a “bhumi pujan” ceremony for setting up the Rajiv Gandhi Computer Institute in Rae Bareli.

In the adjoining Amethi, Sonia Gandhi joined her son Rahul in laying the foundation stone of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology.

Rahul Gandhi hailed the event as a fulfilment of a dream cherished by his father, late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who earlier represented this constituency.

“The institute is slated to eventually emerge as a corporate university,” he said.

“We hope to start this institute in the coming academic session and our target is to see that once the entire campus is in place, the institute teaches at least 10,000 students.”

The mother-son duo refrained from making any political comments at either of the two public functions and returned to Delhi later in the afternoon.

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