Indian PM appeals to lawmakers to act 'responsibly'
NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's premier urged lawmakers on Thursday to engage in "responsible" debate as the government seeks to push the annual budget and controversial economic reforms to spur the economy through parliament.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal came as parliament was to begin a new session in which the government is due to announce next week a budget expected to feature the most belt-tightening in years despite elections looming in 2014.
Past parliamentary sessions have been stormy with lawmakers accusing the left-leaning Congress government of corruption, resulting in the passage of little legislation.
"The way we conduct financial business before parliament will be a crucial test of how we deal with the formidable challenges we face," he said, referring to an economy growing at a decade low and sharply deteriorating public finances.