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CMP to balance reforms, development
May 21, 2004 13:51 IST
The Congress-led government's common minimum programme, whose finalisation was being expedited, will balance reforms and development so that tough measures like containing the revenue deficit and cut in subsidies become "painless".
In a bid to provide social safety net, particularly to the 37 crore (370 million) workers in the unorganised sector, the CMP may propose a two per cent cess on salaries of the organised sector employees to fund the insurance scheme in the unorganised sector.
The CMP, which will provide a roadmap for the economic policies to the new coalition government, may also propose to tone down some of the tough labour reforms like the 'hire and fire' system as contemplated by the previous National Democratic Alliance government.
Congress has already circulated a draft CMP to its allies to be vetted by them. Prime Minister-designate Manmohan Singh has indicated that the CMP would be ready shortly.
Sources said many of the economic issues prioritised in the Congress agenda for action promise to push the economy on a higher growth path of 8-10 per cent.
Singh will have to do a tight-rope walk on the mounting petroleum subsidy bill issue with the global crude prices hovering around $40 a barrel and the Left parties' reluctance to support any hike in the diesel and LPG prices.
He has already indicated that cross-subsidisation could be one of the options, particularly in areas where user charges are not levied like supply of free power to farmers.