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Meet to push UPA reforms

Sonia to back PM and PC on economic reforms; party may take more unpopular measures to beat the downturn,Saubhadra Chatterji reports.

delhi Updated: Jan 16, 2013 01:37 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji

The UPA is set to get a boost as Congress looks ready to back its recent economic reforms push.

The party is expected to come out in support of the recent moves in its brain-storming session at Jaipur later this week.

Though many of these measures may hurt the party politically, Congress feels that they are inevitable as it looks to avoid an economic slowdown.

Party president Sonia Gandhi is expected to direct party leaders to reach out to the people on these measures. The reforms moves, aimed to cut the subsidy bill, will also allow the government to mop up additional resources for key social schemes.

PM Manmohan Singh and finance minister P Chidambaram — the two key architects of the recent reforms—will be given a go-ahead to push tough reform moves after the Jaipur conclave, party sources pointed out.

Both will give detailed overview of the economic situation and explain the necessity of these measures, pitching for future steps to overcome the yawning fiscal deficit.

The party, while fully backing the reforms measures will discuss strategy to deal with political sensitivities while taking further “unpopular” measures. The key challenge on the economic front, according to some top Congress leaders, would be to chart the road map to steer the economy out of the slowdown while preparing for 2014 elections.

Apart from FDI in multi-brand retail, the UPA government in the past few months has capped LPG cylinder subsidy, raised diesel and petrol prices and hiked rail fares. The government intends to further hike diesel, petrol and LPG prices.

The party, however, expects the 2013-14 budget, the last full budget before 2014 polls, to shower sops in social sector.