Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's public statement that he is losing sleep over the government's burgeoning subsidy bill appears to have had some effect. Those in queue for budgetary hand-outs are now scaling back their expectations. For instance, a senior trade union leader said in the light of the finance minister's statement, it would not be prudent to expect the government to help the Employees Provident Fund Organisation ensure a 9.5 per cent interest payout for 2011-12. The trade unions are pushing for at least nine per cent this year if 9.5 per cent is not possible although the EPFO has proposed 8.25 per cent. If Mukherjee's statement was intended for a larger audience, then he has obviously succeeded.
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