New Delhi: The first budget to be unveiled by the new UPA government on 6 July will be “popular”, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Alhuwalia said.
“The word populist has negative overtones, but I am sure (the) finance minister will present a popular budget. However, we should maintain the mystery of the budget and you have to wait and see what comes out,” he told in an interview.
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Making a case for “strong government effort” to promote growth, Ahluwalia said, “The Prime Minister has said we should get back to between 8 and 9% economic growth rate), that might take a couple of years. I think it is feasible but it requires some strong and purposeful action.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier in the month had asked the Finance Ministry “to ensure that the next union budget adequately and appropriately reflects the priorities and programmes outlined in the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament.”
Among other things, President Pratibha Patil had talked about a Food Security Act to provide 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs3 per kg to people below poverty line.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who will be presenting the budget for 2009-10 in the Lok Sabha in first week of July, has already indicated the government “would continue to focus on public spending in employment oriented growth sectors, increasing the purchasing power of the people.”