Waiver will increase budget deficit: Chidambaram

CUDDALORE, JUNE 16. The success of the Chief Minister, Ms. Jayalalithaa's decision to waive interest and penal interest on cooperative dues will depend upon the number of beneficiaries reaping its fruits, Mr. P. Chidambaram, former Union Minister for Finance and TMC Democratic Forum founder, said today.

Addressing presspersons at Chidambaram, he said the deadline for the repayment of dues had been extended from August 31 to September 30. It had been estimated that about seven lakh borrowers would benefit but the actual number could be arrived at only after the execution of the scheme.

Mr. Chidambaram said deficit was part of any budget, both at the State and national levels. The deficit likely to arise out of the current concession in the State's coming budget proposals would increase and one has to wait and see what steps the State Government would take to control it.

Sticking to his view that the Governor, Ms. Fathima Beevi, should not have invited Ms. Jayalalitha to form the Government, Mr. Chidambaram said that with the legal battle now on, the ball was in the portals of the Supreme Court.

On the proposal for a merger of the Congress and the TMC in the State, he said ``there are many Congress parties and it will be a good thing for these factions to get united.''

Expressing concern over the low percentage of voting in the elections, he said that for ensuring a fair and majority of people's mandate, at least 70 per cent of voters should exercise their fundamental duty during every poll. He termed the poor polling percentage an ``unhealthy trend for the nation.''

Earlier, addressing members of the forum, Mr. Chidambaram said the TMC-DF would be run by the youth force unlike the ``traditional Congress way'' of leaving it to the affluent and ``becoming a puppet in the hands of a few commanding chiefs.''