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April 28, 2000
Informal Cabinet meet ponders rollback of foodgrains price-hikes
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today held consultations with his Cabinet colleagues to finalise the concessions Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha may announce while replying to the Finance Bill next week.
This was the first informal consultation by the prime minister with his colleagues to sort out the various controversial issues. These include rollback of price-hikes of essential commodities and certain provisions of the Finance Bill.
The meeting, which was held at the prime minister's residence, was attended by Sinha, Consumer Affairs Minister Shanta Kumar, Petroleum Minister Ram Naik, Home Minister L K Advani, Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan and Planning and Programme Implementation Minister Arun Shourie.
According to highly placed sources, the issue of rolling back of foodgrains prices was also discussed at the meeting. Issues finalised at today's meeting will be placed formally at the next Cabinet meeting scheduled to be held early next week. The finance minister is expected to reply to the third stage of the debate on May 4 in the Lok Sabha.
An official of the PMO described the meeting as routine and said the prime minister chaired the meeting in spite of his indisposition (throat infection).
During the informal discussions, several other issues concerning direct and indirect taxes were also discussed.
Major partners of the National Democratic Alliance like the Telugu Desam Party, Trinamool Congress, Indian National Lok Dal and others have been demanding a rollback of hike in foodgrains prices and even submitted a memorandum to the prime minister in this regard.
The price issue has also been raised in various fora by the allies including yesterday's discussion in Parliament.
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