07 July 2009

Budget 2009: After Masima, Jethu's Bari

In the railway budget of 2009, Masima had her say. In Budget 2009, Jethu (Shri Pranab Mukherjee) had his say (If I was twenty years younger I would have addressed him as Dadu) while sipping water in between. The first message that has to be read between the lines is that the Indian National Congress (INC) as also Trinamool Congress are aiming at the state elections of West Bengal in 2011. There is also a medium term target of Uttar Pradesh in 2012. The Left Front, Bahujan Samaj and Samajbadi better watch out.

The budget is also a way of saying thank you to all those who voted the United Progressive Alliannce back to power. The increased expenditure under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is on expected lines. The National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) that would restructure the existing Swarnajayati Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) and integrating with Self-help groups and other initiative are welfare programmes that show promise.

What worries most is the increasing expenditure without commensurat receipts leading to an increase in fiscal deficit. Jethu is not too much bothered about this becaue of the global financial crisis. He will wait for the fruit to ripe.

Politically, the immediate concern would be Maharashtra elections later in the year. With delayed monsoons, will the Vidarbha task force, debt waiver and urban storm water drains help. Only time will tell.

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