New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) The Janata Dal-United Tuesday called for a meeting of chief ministers to rationalise the central schemes as allies of the government and opposition parties gave suggestions on budget proposals in the Rajya Sabha.
Participating in the discussion, JD-U member N.K. Singh said the government had not used years of high economic growth and tax buoyancy to retire public debt. The money was used "for fiscal profligacy" and financing flagship programmes of the government, he said.
However, he admitted that programmes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MNREGA) were important for enhancing rural purchasing power, for economic growth and social cohesion.
He said even as new schemes such as MNREGA were launched, many old schemes continued.
"Even when these new schemes were launched, others which had outlived their utility, would be duplicated, really continue without being phased out," he said.
Singh said that conference of chief ministers should be called "on how central schemes can be rationalised".
DMK member Kanimozhi welcomed the budget proposals and said the 12th Five Year Plan will focus on faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth.
"The experience of the finance minister (Pranab Mukherjee) has helped him chart a steady path for growth while including promising proposals for social inclusion," she said.
Hailing the proposal to increase agricultural credit to Rs.5.75 lakh crores, she said the government should think of giving fertiliser subsidy directly to the farmers.
Kanimozhi hoped that the finance minister will take into account monetary pressures faced by the working class and provide tax relief to those who are earning less than Rs.3 lakh per year.
She said increase in customs duty on steel and hike in excise duty on commercial vehicle chassis could affect the automobile industry situated around the city of Chennai.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member Veer Singh said that poor were feeling cheated from the budget. He said the budget did not earmark enough funds for welfare of scheduled castes and tribes.
He said two kinds of education systems were prevailing in the country and children of poor were disadvantaged compared to those from affluent backgrounds, and demanded a separate budget for children from poor families.
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