Staff Correspondent

"It's growth-oriented and pro-poor"

SHIMLA: Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday hailed the Union Budget 2007-08 presented in Parliament by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as growth-oriented, pro-poor and progressive and of benefit to all sections of the society.

The Chief Minister said that extending the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to 330 districts from the current 200 districts and allocating Rs.12,000 crore for this scheme besides Rs.2,800 crore for Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojnna would provide ample employment opportunities to the youth.

The 50 per cent hike in the allocation for Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna from Rs.1200 crore to 1800 crore would also provide self-employment opportunities to the rural poor, he added.

He said the proposal to bring the unorganised landless households under a safety net would provide insurance cover to them for which the Central Government would bear 50 per cent of the premium of Rs.200 per year per person.

The Chief Minister said thrust had also been given to the Bharat Nirman programme by allocating Rs.24,603 crore under the programme for strengthening infrastructure which is a 31.6 per cent increase over last year.

The allocation for education has been increased by 34.2 per cent to Rs.32,352 crore, the allocation for health and family welfare has also been increased by 21.9 per cent to Rs.15,291 crore which would accelerate the pace of development in both sectors, he said