Initiating the debate on the Finance Bill, K S Rao (Cong) said the government should not be too concerned about rising inflation and the protests from the Opposition, maintaining that the poor were not affected by it due to effective PDS.
He even suggested that the government could allow inflation to rise above 20 per cent. "Our leaders should have the courage to say we have increased the price. The poor people are not affected by it," he said.
He suggested more diversion of funds from the urban to the rural areas to increase the purchasing power of the latter. Rao said the government should teach productive skills to students so that they can find employment as carpenters, auto drivers, cooks and so on.
P C Chacko, who was presiding, reminded Rao that he had to address the Chair as he frequently kept addressing UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi - who was present in the House - during his speech.
Former Prime Minister and JD-S chief H D Devegowda said because of reduction of import duty on silk workers involved in silk production were on the verge of committing suicide. He feared that drastic decline in raw silk production might lead to China dumping its products in India and controlling the international silk markets.
Shailendra Kumar (SP) said the budget should be rural oriented.
He said a problem in implementation of schemes by the government was that till now "we don't seem to have decided how many people are below the poverty line." Sudip Bandopadhyay (Trinamool Congress) said his party had opposed the service tax on high-end medical facilities.
He sought a rollback on the 10 per cent service tax imposed on readymade garments.