Special Correspondent

Entire State budget will not be enough for the purpose, says Chief Minister

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K. Rosaiah on Wednesday ruled out waiver of loans borrowed by individual weavers stating that the entire budget of the State government would not be enough for the purpose.

The government's offer to write off loans of weavers' societies was a small effort to bail out the handloom sector from economic crisis, he added. Addressing a meeting organised by the weavers' cell of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) to felicitate him following the waiver of loans of societies, Mr. Rosaiah said the government took the decision after a thorough study by a committee headed by him when he was Finance Minister.

Former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had appointed the committee after announcing the waiver and making a budgetary provision.

The panel took care to ensure that bogus societies did not exploit the scheme, something which worried Reddy.

Congress commitment

Mr. Rosaiah said Dr. Reddy made the promise not with an eye on elections last year, but out of commitment of Congress for the welfare of weavers.

Excise duty removed

The Congress government also got the 9.25 per cent excise duty on yarn removed and offered old age pensions to weavers at only 50 years.

Handlooms Minister B. Srinivas Reddy narrated his dilemma over the announcement he made that the government would issue order waiving loans before March 31. He developed doubts whether the government could extend the benefit given its financial constraints.

The meeting was also addressed by APCC president D. Srinivas, IT Minister K. Venkat Reddy, Congress Member of Parliament K. Rajagopal Reddy and legislator K. Kamala.