Congress has neither majority nor support to pass legislation: Pranab

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Saturday that he did not make any “dramatic announcements and dramatic proposals” in the Budget keeping the political constraints of the United Progressive Alliance government in mind.

Emphasising that a coalition government requires the support of its allies to pass the Budget in parliament, he said as a “hardcore political activist” he cannot ignore the fact.

Mr. Mukherjee pointed out that since 1989, the Indian electorate had not given clear verdict to any single party and the parties running the governments had only a fractured mandate.

“With a fractured mandate, yes you can rule. But you have to carry other people with you,” he said.

Stating that he cannot be blamed for the delay in passing important legislations like the Goods and Services Tax, he said the government does not have support from other parties to pass legislation.

“My party does not have two-thirds majority either in the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha, which is required for a constitutional amendment for the GST…It requires ratification of at least 15 States out of 28. If the necessary support is there, GST will be there in no time,” he said.

Claiming that the Budget was aimed at achieving fiscal consolidation, moderating the pressure of inflation and bringing back the economy to a higher growth trajectory, Mr. Mukherjee said that he had to take difficult decisions in the Budget which was presented at a difficult time.

He, however, expressed satisfaction about the fact that the total foodgrain production in the country has reached 250 million tonnes. He said that it was the first time that the nation has produced more than 100 million tonnes of rice in the kharif season of which seven million tonnes of increased production is from the eastern parts of the country.

Mr. Mukherjee said that considering the potential of the eastern States to increase foodgrain production, he has increased the budgetary allocation for the second green revolution to this region from Rs. 400 crore to Rs. 1000 crore.

He also announced that storage capacity would be augmented by 15 million tonnes by December 2013, adding that the Food Corporation of India and other agencies have an existing capacity of 47 lakh tonnes.

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