Worried by global meltdown, rising prices and growing unemployment, the Congress urged Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to keep the aam aadmi in mind while presenting the Budget.
Congress Working Committee and AICC members presented their wishlist at a two-hour interaction with Mukherjee as part of his pre-Budget consultations. These include: check price-rise, implement food security, boost agriculture, education, health, infrastructure and flagship programmes, give greater subsidy for diesel and use disinvestment money to revive sick PSUs, which unlike the private sector, help in fulfiling the social obligation of generating jobs.
The message for the government, as Janardhan Dwivedi put it, was: “Keep it up’’.
Ajit Jogi, who wanted more funds to tackle the Naxal problem in Chhattisgarh and other states, called for turning the promise of food security into a comprehensive and pro-poor scheme.
Motilal Vora wanted food prices to be reined in. Satyavrat Chaturvedi sought a hike in minimum support price on agricultural produce like sugar cane and greater irrigation facilities. Shivraj Patil sought more budgetary support for security and defence.
Mukherjee promised to keep their suggestions in mind.