A Rs.60,000 crore debt relief package benefiting 40 million farmers, increase in spending on social sector schemes and relief to income-tax payers are some of the highlights of India’s fiscal budget for 2008-09. Not surprisingly the ‘aam admi’ has given his thumbs-up to the Union Budget 2008-09, in which, apparently with an eye on elections, a large number of sops have been announced for the middle class and the farmers. Presenting the budget in the Lok Sabha Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced a new insurance scheme for workers in the unorganised sector, setting up of institutes of higher learning and 6000 high-quality model schools, and provision of Rs. 16,000 crore to cover all rural districts under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Under the debt waiver and relief package, small and marginal farmers (with holdings up to 2 hectare) there will be a complete waiver of all loans overdue on December 31, 2007 and which remained unpaid until February 29, 2008. Tax relief to women is raised to Rs. 1.80 lakhs while for senior citizens it is Rs. 2.25 lakhs. Citizens of the city unanimously agree that the Finance Minister’s budget has given reasons to smile for almost all sections. Looks like after Union Minister for Railways Lalu Prasad Yadav, even Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has scored big time with citizens across the country. Amjad Amsari – NMTV.
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