Special Correspondent

The law will be enacted this year, avers Chidambaram

TIRUCHI: The implementation of 27 per cent reservation for other backward classes in Central institutions of higher education is imminent and it is just a matter of time before it comes into force, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said.

Though there are certain impediments, the law providing for the reservation will be enacted this year, he said while addressing a public meeting after unveiling the statue of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi here on Tuesday.

Mr. Chidambaram also expressed the confidence that the country could sustain eight per cent growth during the current financial year too. Ever since the UPA came to power at the Centre, the economy had grown every month.

He also warned of stern action against bank officials who denied eligible students educational loans. Loans for students crossed had gone up to Rs.10,000 crore from just Rs.3,000 crore issued when the UPA assumed office.

The Centre had doubled the quantum of short-term crop loans in two years from Rs.85,000 crore.

This year, the figure could touch Rs.1,85,000 crore, though the target was Rs.1,75,000 crore. With the Centre reducing the interest rates on loans to seven per cent, the Tamil Nadu Government had followed suit.

Stressing the need for friendly ties between the State and the Centre, Mr. Chidambaram said the change brought about by the Assembly elections was evident in the form of greater flow of funds to the State and implementation of several projects. For instance, the State Government had forwarded a draft proposal for improving 26,000 water bodies. It had been forwarded to the World Bank for assistance. The project was likely to be cleared shortly.

Minister of State for Textiles E.V.K.S. Elangovan said never before in the history of the State had so many poll promises been fulfilled within such a short span of time. The list of achievements of the DMK Government was getting longer by the day. TNCC president M. Krishnasswamy lauded Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for fulfilling the needs of the people and providing good governance. The State was also progressing on the industrial front.

Mr. Krishnasswamy urged the people to back the Democratic Progressive Alliance in the local bodies elections too.

K.V. Thangabalu MP claimed history was made with the Centre sanctioning Rs.27,000-crore worth of projects to Tamil Nadu.

State Ministers K.N. Nehru and N. Selvaraj, urban district president of the Congress Jerome Arockiaraj and others spoke.