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We want a 2nd green revolution: FM

February 03, 2004 12:22 IST
Last Updated: February 03, 2004 13:34 IST

The government has decided to merge 50 per cent of the dearness allowance with the basic pay of central government employees and this will come into effect from April 1 2004, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh announced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Presenting the Interim Budget for 2004-05, Singh said the last time the DA was increased was from July 1, 2003. At present, central government employees are getting 59 per cent of their pay as DA.

Singh told the House that the Fifth Pay Commission had recommended that DA should be merged with basic pay whenever the DA exceeds 50 per cent of the pay and the government having re-examined this recommendation in depth has decided for the merger.

Growth figures in the current year are encouraging. GDP growth is expected to be 7.5 to 8 per cent in the current fiscal year, the finance minister said.

This level of growth is a matter of great satisfaction, Singh said.

Declining interest and buoyant stock exchange have set the economy moving, he informed the House.

Under the Prime Minister's Swastha Suraksha Yojana six hospitals -- one each in Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and KAshmir, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal -- will be upgraded to the level of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Singh said.

All farmers will be eligible for credit cards by March 31, 2004. A committee is being set up under eminent agricultural economist V S Vyas to go into all issues relating to agriculture credit while keeping in mind non-performing asset norms of banks and collateral security.

Tea growers will get loans upto Rs 200,000 at 9 per cent interest rate, Singh said.

A National Cattle Development Board will be set up and funded by the Centre.

The loan limit on credit card for small-scale entrepreneurs with a good track record would be raised from Rs 00,000 to Rs 10 lakhs (Rs 1 million), Singh said.

Additional innovative funding would be given for speedier execution of Indira Gandhi Canal project in Rajasthan.

Singh said, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has directed implementation of  accelerated drinking water projects for mega cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.

He further said that the airport in Jaipur would be upgraded to an international one.

IDBI's role to be strengthened as a lead development financial institution, he said.

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