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Chidambaram holds pre-Budget talks with Congress party

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 14

THE Congress Party on Tuesday urged the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, to come up with a budget that would provide relief to all sections of the population and ensure an `inclusive growth' in the economy.

Congress Party leaders are also understood to have made a case for the removal of the fringe benefit tax, a cut in interest rates on farm loans and the concentration on the rural sector as a priority area in the Budget.

At a pre-Budget meeting with the Finance Minister, which lasted for about 90 minutes here on Tuesday, the Congress party workers asked the Government to adhere to the election manifesto, the National Common Minimum Programme, and step up investment for rural infrastructure.

The economic resolution at the last plenary session of the Congress Party at Hyderabad was also brought to the attention of the Finance Minister.

"There were 25 suggestions. All suggestions pertain to the common man. The Finance Minister assured us that it will be taken into consideration while formulating the Budget," Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, said after the meeting.

He also pointed out that the Finance Minister had consulted the Congress Party even during the run-up to the Budget for 2005-06.

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