With rising prices and interest rates causing concern, Congress leaders today gave their wish list to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the pre-budget consultations at the AICC headquarters here ahead of the budget session of Parliament beginning on February 21.
31 of the 50 party leaders who attended the one-hour and forty five minute long meeting also gave their suggestions and views on food inflation, price rise and farmers' problems.
The meeting was attended by AICC general secretaries, Congress Working Committee members, PCC chiefs and heads of the frontal organizations. In his opening remarks, Mukherjee threw light on the current economic situation and the steps he has taken to strengthen the economy, sources said.
While expressing satisfaction over the overall economic situation, Mukherjee is learnt to have also articulated his concern on certain issues. "Party leaders also gave their suggestions on areas like industry, price and inflation," party general secretary and AICC media department chief Janardan Dwivedi said.
With Assembly elections approaching in five states West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamilnadu and Puduchery this year, rising prices, particularly of food items and vegetables, has been a worrying factor for the party.
Since the Congress came to power at the Centre via the UPA mode in 2004, Finance Ministers have been interacting with party leaders ahead of the budget.
Experts say inflation, current account deficit, pressure for lowering down the import duty, providing level-playing field to domestic industries and increasing government revenue are some of the problems being faced by the government ahead of the budgetary exercise.
However, there has been some good news for the government on the front of inflation this month. Driven by declining prices of sugar and wheat, the overall inflation eased marginally to 8.23 per cent in January even as the prices of vegetables and fruits continued to remain firm.