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April 19, 1999


Budget will be passed in toto on Wednesday; industry hails the political 'class'

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The all-party meeting today decided to pass all pending financial business, including the Budget, in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Leader of the Opposition Sharad Pawar said the proposal of speaker G M C Balayogi to clear the financial business was accepted by all parties at a meeting this morning

Pawar said the Budget will be passed in toto.

Pawar said Balayogi's proposal to clear the financial business was accepted by all parties at the meeting.

Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said the Budget will be taken up for consideration soon after Parliament meets at 1100 hrs on Wednesday.

Parliament will also pass the Railway Appropriation Bill on the same day without any discussion.

While addressing leaders at the meeting, Balayogi observed, ''It is needless for me to bring to your notice that the industry has also expressed its concern about the Budget, especially the Finance Bill. Our Parliament always has the tradition of transacting essential financial business on priority basis in times of transition.''

Last night, President K R Narayanan had urged the political parties to resolved the Budget issue at the earliest. This was followed up by Balayogi's initiative this morning. The efforts paid off as all the political parties decided to behave responsibly.

The decision to adopt the Budget without discussion on Wednesday brought cheer to the markets.

However, the Indian rupee came under severe pressure as the forex market opened after a two-day gap, unlike the stock markets which had special trading sessions on Saturday.

The Indian currency recorded an intra-day fall of 38 paise at Rs 43.10 to the US $ amidst volatile trading. It ended at Rs 42.86/88 against the last Friday's close of Rs 42.72/73.

The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange recovered almost 50 per cent of Saturday's losses. All the indices looked up. The Delhi Stock Exchange index was up 25.29 points at 763.86.

Experts in the forex market were doubtful about formation of a new government. According to them, the rupee is likely to be under pressure for the next few days.

The Indian industry today applauded the political consensus.

President of the Confederation of Indian Industry Rajesh Shah said it was a momentous decision and would bring a great sigh of relief to the industry. He congratulated the political parties for putting the nation's interest above everything else.

''This is an outstanding example of ''country first, political interests later'," he said. "The immediate need of the hour is to adopt the finance bill on which many had pinned their hopes for a turnaround in the economy and industry."

The most important result of the move would be that the financial crisis was averted in the aftermath of the government failing to secure the vote of confidence.

The mood, the CII president said, was already upbeat as reflected in the Sensex gaining several points immediately after the announcement. Many proposals in the Budget, Shah said, are pragmatic and progressive, aimed at putting the economy on a higher growth path. With the passing of the finance bill, the investment climate in the country would improve and the capital market would get a boost.

President of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India or Assocham), K P Singh, said this crucial decision which would give effect to the Budget proposals for 1999-2000, reflects maturity and understanding of the economic compulsions by the political parties. This would only strengthen the forces of economic revival and give investment decisions the much-needed boost.

He said the political parties now need to extend their consensual approach to a comon minimum economic programme.

President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sudhir Jalan said that it is a sensible act by the legislature and is a standing testimony of the strength of democratic traditions and systems in India.

Jalan said that the decision has set a healthy and constructive precedence to transacting essential financial business on a priority basis at times of transition.

The FICCI president said that the passage of the pending essential financial business including the finance bill, railway appropriation bill and demands for grants of various ministries have clearly demonstrated the possibility of an all-party consensus on economic matters even in the midst of political turmoil.

The All India Association of Industries said the threat of uncertainty on the economic situation is over and trade and industry now feel reassured.


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