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February 29, 2000
Budget for development, says PM
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said the budget proposals for 2000-2001 are aimed at all-round development in all sectors, specifically the rural areas, but expressed concern over the high fiscal deficit.
The budget will speed up development, provide more employment and promote more industries. Special emphasis has been given to the rural and social sectors, he told reporters after Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha presented the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha.
The prime minister said defence allocation had to be increased by Rs 130 billion for security reasons. "I'm confident the people of the country will understand the security requirements," he said.
He hoped that the budget would achieve its target of 6-7 per cent growth in gross domestic project. "It looks towards the future. It will achieve its objective. I have no doubt," he said.
Vajpayee said the budget would not put an additional burden on the common man.
Referring to the proposed Gramodaya scheme for all-round rural development, he said it would easier to provide basic amenities and roads in the villages under the scheme.
While hoping that the budget would achieve its growth objective, the prime minister also expressed concern about the size of the fiscal deficit. "The fiscal deficit is a matter of concern and it is necessary to take hard steps," he said.
But the budget will increase employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas, he added.
Asked why the budget had not raised the personal income-tax limit to the salaried class, he said it was not necessary as the salaried class enjoys an exemption up to an annual income of Rs100,000.
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