Budget 1997-98: Full Text
Speech of Shri
P. Chidambaram, Minister of Finance
I rise to present the Budget for the year 1997-98.
- The government headed by Prime Minister Shri Deve Gowda
completes 9 months today. When I stood before this House
on July 22, 1996, this House received my proposals with a
mixture of wonder, curiosity and scepticism. I was, after
all, the Finance Minister of the first genuine coalition
government at the Centre. I was also the first Finance
Minister who belonged to an avowed regional party, albeit
with a national outlook.
- Hon'ble Members will indulge me for a few minutes while
I reflect on those eventful days in May 1996. One
national party acknowledged that it had lost its claim to
form the government. Another tried, but failed. It is in
that situation that regional parties, and certain parties
with a larger national presence, came together to form
the United Front government. These parties long regarded
as children of a lesser God have demonstrated that, given
the opportunity, they can form a government not only at
the State level but also at the Centre. Inspired by the
idea of a truly cooperative federal polity, Chief
Ministers have assembled, more often than ever before, at
the Inter-State Council, the National Development Council
and at Special Conferences to formulate national
policies. The formation of the government by the United
Front and our efforts to take decisions by a national
consensus, in the fiftieth year of India's independence,
have deepened and broadened Indian democracy.
- Hon'ble Members will find that there is a strong
continuity between my first Budget and the present one.
The foundation of the Budget remains the Common Minimum
Programme. The experience of the last eight months has
demonstrated the enormous strengths of the programme.
Drawing on the CMP, my first Budget articulated seven
broad objectives. These objectives embraced vital
elements such as growth, basic minimum services,
employment, macroeconomic stability, investment
(particularly in infrastructure), human development and a
viable balance of payments. I believe these objectives
remain as valid today as they were eight months ago.
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