Friday, July 10, 2009

At long last, a budget that has clearly placed first the agendas of people who have no lobbies!

long last, a budget... - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

At long last, a budget that has clearly placed first the agendas of people who have no lobbies!

At long last, a budget...  - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri
Click here to view related Website: Arindam chaudhuri Publish Date: 2009-07-09
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Not that it has done everything that had to be done for those who have been deliberately marginalised by the society now for decades and ignored just to fill the coffers of rich industrialists of India. But kudos that it has reached here at least. I, personally, and our media house have both been severely critical of budgets year after year. After presenting alternative budgets for nine years on the trot, I finally see a government that has at least had the courage to come out in the open and present a budget which hardly has any sops worth talking about for the industry. Yes, the advantages that a few industrial houses will derive haven't gone unnoticed. But as I had written – with a lot of sarcasm and desperation – in our last issue: Let this budget be a 'Khao Aur Khilao' budget. And I won't look at vested interests which got served here and there. I will only look at the good that has happened. After more than four years post the launch of Business & Economy and our media house, here is a budget for which I have first class marks! It surely deserves a 6 to 6.5 out of ten. Just for its vision and boldness to announce only social measures one after the other at the cost of getting the middle getting upset. At the cost of stock markets registering their heaviest falls. At the cost of industrialists quietly having had to gulp down their disappointment and give TV bytes praising the budget – not because they realise the reasons why the budget is good, but because they knew their was nothing to logically criticize it on.

Now let's take a look at the details of the budget. Of all the rank bad budgets by the previous Congress terms – of course, with various kinds of external pressures – the only scheme that can be clearly considered their pet project that had Sonia, Manmohan and Rahul's full support was the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme. And the best part of even this budget has been the huge 140 percent increase in NREGA allocations; and of course, the food guarantee scheme. The plan for providing direct subsidy to farmers is a very good move coupled up with the concept of biometric unique identification cards. It's a positive step towards removal of corruption.

This budget also sees a sense of gradual move towards strong reforms through the formation of the integrated energy act, shift in the fertilizer subsidy and efforts towards making domestic fuel prices move in sync with global prices. Further, another positive and super step towards removal of corruption in politics is the move to make all donations to political parties tax free. This would curtail donations in cash and make the system more transparent! For direct tax payers, the only real good news is that the incredibly silly and bureaucracy inducing FBT (Fringe Benefit Tax) has gone. Planman Media has been a

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