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Chidambaram seeks States' support for pension, banking, insurance bills

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P. Chidambaram
P. Chidambaram

Special Correspondent

Back these bills for real growth: Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday urged Chief Ministers to support the pension, banking and insurance bills to mobilise resources for the 11th Plan.

Speaking at the National Development Council meeting here, he underlined the need to back these bills for real and inclusive growth. He said besides providing social security benefits to employees, they would help generate resources to finance infrastructure projects.

Regarding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's emphasis on a strong and innovative financial sector, he said some steps in this regard could be taken through executive action. "However, major legislative changes are also required," he said.

`High inflation'

Commenting on inflation, he expressed concern over the current price line which he described as unacceptably high and stressed that the Government would like to bring it down. He urged States to become equal partners in areas of Central budgetary interventions, while commending the improvement scenario of state finances through implementation of the 12th Finance Commission's award, debt restructuring and VAT (value added tax).

He said the experience of the past few years had demonstrated the benefits of fiscal prudence and efforts should be made to observe it in letter and spirit. He said the Centre would make all efforts to maximise revenues as well as non-debt capital receipts, and minimise non-plan expenditure. He expressed confidence about achieving the fiscal deficit target while aiming for 3.4 per cent of GDP for next year. This would, he felt, send a strong signal that the Government is committed to the FRBM (fiscal responsibility and budget management) target.

Mr. Chidambaram advised States and planners to resist the tendency of adding new schemes while continuing with the old ones. He was concerned about the high leakage of funds in delivery of services, while stressing that not only subsidies but also the manner in which they were delivered, should be revisited.

He said governments had failed over the years to deliver the benefits of investment to the intended beneficiaries in primary education, health, drinking water, sanitation, roads and other services.


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