//Left wants rural India to get its due

Left wants rural India to get its due

New Delhi: After sending a note on how to mop up additional resources the Left is now preparing a document on how the government should allocate funds in the 2006 budget.

If the Finance Minister is trying to work out how much he intends to spend on various projects across the country in this year’s budget the Left already has its suggestions ready.

CNN-IBN has learnt that the Left wants the budgetary support ramped up by Rs 50,000 crores taking the total to about Rs 194,000 crore and their focus is on four areas that include agriculture, rural development, health and education.

"We hope that we will have the time to discuss with the Finance Minister," General Secretary of CPI, AB Bardhan.

They want the government to tackle farm suicides and rural indebtedness and want the agriculture outlay raised by Rs 12,000 crore.

Left will ask the government for Rs 5000 crores to revamp the rural co-operative credit system and also want an all India farm debt survey.

The Red brigade wants the lowering of farm loan interests, too, and the creation of a farm price stabilisation fund

For rural development the Left wants the government to give about Rs 15,000 crore and along with implementing Employment Guarantee Scheme it wants the government to focus on rural roads along with rural housing.

According to the Left education expenditure needs to be doubled from last years Rs 18,000 crores and on health they want the expenditure raised by Rs 6000 crores so that spending on health goes up to at least 1.5 per cent of GDP.

Left sources say they can not be called logically inconsistent as the expenditure plans comes right after its note to the government on how to mop up resources and one thing is clear that the Left wants to tell P Chidambaram that he needs to spend to give rural India its promised new deal.

India’s policymakers however say that while funds are crucial better designed schemes are what matters the most.

"The most important thing if you ask me is not simply the number. More important things are if the schemes are well designed and are we ensuring that they are delivering what they want to deliver," Planning Commision Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.

This is something that Chidambaram will be looking at before he announces this year’s budget when the proposals are formally submitted to the ahead of the next Left-UPA coordination committee meet.

Sandeep Banerjee,CNN-IBN,Updated 0857 hrs IST (+GMT 5:30), 11.02.06