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PM gives fiscal lessons to colleagues

November 01, 2004 21:27 IST

At the first meeting of his Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday night asked his colleagues to keep the United Progressive Alliance members informed about the policies being implemented.

He also directed the ministers to ensure that "only realistic, sound and justifiable proposals are put up for expenditure."

Singh said it was "not fair" to expect the finance minister "alone to act as the arbiter of expenditure while all other ministers try to enlarge their share of the budget pie".

Singh's comments came a day after the Communist Party of India complained that the allies were not being consulted on several issues and the performance of the Congress-led government so far was "mixed".

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi joined the ministers for dinner after the meeting.

In order to assuage the allies' concerns, the PM made it clear that agriculture, irrigation and drinking water, health, education, employment, urban renewal and infrastructure development were the priority areas.

Asking his colleagues to interact regularly with their officers, Singh said, "They are our instruments for delivering results, hence, they need to be given their due place."

Besides, he said, institutions need to be respected and strengthened.

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