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Left bloc's advise UPA on Budget 2007

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 22:46 IST

The Left bloc's advise to the UPA Government on budget 2007 would be to fulfill promises made in the Congress's common minimum programme (CMP) and allocate more funds to build infrastructure in agriculture and health, curb price rise and push down the unemployment graph.

The four Left parties are preparing a joint blueprint for the budget, covering 27 key points, to be submitted to the government in the first week of February.

The four parties - CPIM, CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc - met on Monday evening to discuss the issues that need to be underscored in the budget.

``The thrust should be on pro-poor policies. The emphasis should be on agriculture, welfare of scheduled castes and tribes and minorities and health and education,'' CPI general secretary, AB Bardhan said after the hour-long meeting

He added that Monday's meeting was to convened to decide the suggestions, criticisms and demands that were to be put forwarded to the government from the Left.

In the agricultural sector, a major thrust area, that the Left plans to bring to the government's focus, would be irrigation.

``Water is the first input for agriculture. Since Independence, some irrigation projects are pending (which need to be started and completed),'' said Forward Bloc general secretary, Debabrata Biswas.

Biswas said that the government needed to change its policies to improve the condition of the farmers.

``Indian farmers are not in a position to compete with international competitors. For example, Vidarbha's cotton farmers are still committing suicide because they are not able to compete against the cheap cotton being imported.

In Kerala too, the cash crop agricultural sector is collapsing because of the Centre's policies,'' Biswas said.

The Left is likely to reiterate to the Government the alternative methods of resource mobilisation.

Besides Bardhan and Biswas, RSP's Abani Roy and CPIM general secretary Prakash Karat, and it's politburo member Sitaram Yechury attended the meeting.

The four might again meet next week to further concretise their suggestions, and are likely to also meet Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram at around the same time.

Email Sutirtho Patranobis: sutirthopatranobis @hindustantimes.com