Demand for more funds to agri sector, education

New Delhi: More emphasis on investment in agriculture, increasing expenditure on education and tackling price rise were some of the demands made by members in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday during the discussion on the General budget for 2011-12.

Supriya Sule (NCP) hailed the budget but said crop loans given to farmers were not sufficient as it took care of only 40 per cent of the total cost involved in raising a crop. She wanted the government to give more subsidies.

She suggested that export of surplus cotton and sugar should be permitted.

"120 lakh tonne bale of cotton produced in India is not used. Similarly, 20 lakh tonne of sugar is surplus. This should be exported," Sule said.

She also demanded tax relief to urban cooperative banks.

Nishikant Dubey (BJP) said the government had not done enough in the budget for its three target segments of youth, minority and women.

He maintained that the government had removed all subsidies for the minority community, while for women it had only increased the remuneration for anganwadi workers.

Dubey said the government should increase expenditure on education to 6 per cent from the present 3.39 per cent of GDP as recommended by the Kothari Commission.

He demanded increase in expenditure on agriculture.

"You are fudging the budget somewhere," he alleged, adding that manipulation is being done everyday in the functioning of SEBI.

Dubey said government should not open the insurance sector to FDI from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

K Suresh (Cong) demanded a metro rail for Kochi and an IIT for Kerala. He also demanded setting up of a cashew board, a long-standing request from Kerala.

Baliram (BSP) described the budget as "directionless, disappointing and one which drives the poor to tears".

"No special provisions have been made for the poor which could end their hunger and poverty," he said, adding foodgrains are rotting in godowns while people are hungry.

He said Indian black money stashed abroad should be brought back.

Namo Nageshwar Rao (TDP) said according to the Economic Survey, India is the 5th most indebted country in the world.

He alleged that the government was "mesmerising" people that the country is doing well.

"There should be an agriculture budget. 25 per cent of the GDP should come from agriculture," he said.

Shivkumar Udasi (BJP) said the net income of farmers is much less than that of government servants. He demanded abolition of MPLAD fund.

Jyoti Mirdha (Cong) said government should allow FDI in developing infrastructure related to agriculture.