Friday, February 29, 2008

Controlling inflation a priority: Chidambaram (More Highlights of Union Budget 2008)

Amid disruption from the opposition, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said while presenting the annual budget in the Lok Sabha Friday that "checking inflation was a priority of the government".

It was his fifth consecutive annual budget as the United Progressive Alliance government's finance minister, a "rare honour" he said he shared with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Chidambaram had said Thursday after tabling the Economic Survey 2007-08 that India's inflation would remain above four percent even for the current fiscal and efforts would continue to bring down prices.

"It is expected to be above four percent. Our efforts will be to further contain inflation," Chidambaram told reporters outside parliament, after tabling the Economic Survey for 2007-08.

Inflation in the first week of February this year shot up to a six-month high with wholesale prices climbing to 4.35 percent for the week ended Feb 9, as against 4.07 percent and 4.11 percent in the preceding two weeks.

In the first week of February, prices rose of food articles such as fruit and vegetables, condiments, spices, fish, arhar, bajra and barley, data shows.

The wholesale price index data is released weekly and considered the benchmark inflation indicator. Inflation rate stood at 6.52 percent in the corresponding week last year.

The ministry of commerce and industry last week revised the inflation rate for the week ended Dec 15 to 3.84 percent from 3.45. The government revises the rate after receiving additional price data.
1. Complete loan waivers for farms up to 2 hectares

2. Weather based crop insurance scheme to continue

3. Rs.400 million for special tea fund

4. Rs.200 billion for irrigation

5. Total plan spending will be Rs.2.4 trillion

6. Farm credit target at Rs.2.8 trillion

7. Health spending to rise 15 percent

8. Loan waiver to benefit 40 million farmers

9. Farm debt waiver scheme to cost Rs.600 billion

10. Farm debt scheme to be completed by June 30

11. Additional 10,000 MW power generation by March 2009

12. To create national fund for power transmission and distribution

13. Foreign direct investment in April-Dec 200 at $12.7 billion

14. Banks to open 250 rural household accounts every year in rural branches

15. Banks to give loans to self-help groups for income-generating activities, social needs and debt swapping

16. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) to get Rs.50 billion to refinance loans

17. Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) to get Rs.40 billion to refinance loans

18. National Housing Bank to get Rs.12 billion

19. Food subsidies at Rs.326.67 billion

20. Defence spending to rise 10 percent

21. PAN requirement for all financial markets

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