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March 3, 2001                                       Feedback  

    - EXIM POLICY '00



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It was 'my budget', not prepared by PMO: Sinha

Asserting that his widely acclaimed budget for 2001-02 is 'my budget', Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has said that it was prepared under the guidance of prime minister and not by Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Sinha made this comment during an interview to a magazine when told that some people were claiming that it was a PMO budget and not his.

Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha asserted on Saturday that the opposition criticism of reform measures in the Budget will not cut ice with the people, saying "good economics is good politics."

"Ultimately good economics is also good politics and certainly bad economics is not good politics," Sinha said, adding, that the NDA allies "are fully with us though the opposition is making the usual noises."

Citing the recent assembly bye-election results in which Congress suffered a severe setback, Sinha said political parties went around with the propaganda that the agricultural prices were down because of imports, which was not correct.

"But it (propaganda) did not cut ice with the voters."

On controversial proposals like labour reforms and privatisation in the Budget, Sinha said, "let me make one thing very clear. Opposition parties will try to take political advantage."

"We shall reason with them (opposition parties). We shall argue with them. We shall try and build consensus with them," he said, adding," at the same time we will like to reach out to the largest constituency outside -- people" as public opinion outside did influence the behaviour of political parties in Parliament.

Sinha admitted that NDA could face problems in the passage of controversial economic legislations as the ruling alliance did not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha.

"If the Congress decides that it would not allow any progressive legislation to go through then clearly there will be a problem," he said.

But "we are hoping to build a consensus and persuade the Congress to support policies to which it was wedded not only when it was in the government, but also till recently as 1999 when its manifesto talked of many of these reforms."

Sinha did not buy the argument that the Budget had been prepared by the prime minister's office (PMO) and not by himself.

"No, it is my budget. It has been prepared under the guidance of the prime minister, not the PMO," Sinha said.

Sinha said his fourth budget has tried to trigger growth by trying to spur both demand and investment.

"By reducing taxes, I am trying to propel consumer demand. Through measures like lower interest rates and promotion of infrastructure, I should get higher investments," he said.

He said he had also created the environment for low-lending rates by reducing interest rates on small savings and keeping the government deficit down.

Budget 2001

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