February 28, 2006

Budget 2006-07

Our FM presented the Budget for the fiscal year 2006-07.

In this effort I have tried to expatiate on certain factors in the Budget that I found interesting and understandable(from my perspective). I am not sure how valid/invalid my opinions are , but this is an honest attempt at understanding / crticizing / appreciating the various nuances and subleties associated with this activity.

As I am writing this, SENSEX is at 10370.24 with a raise of 88.15 pts over the previous day close.

With the SENSEX becoming TENSEX ,the economic boom ( in China & India), the continuous uproar by the commies towards the reforms and scams all around the country, FM had a very delicate task of presenting the Budget for this fiscal(as always -- cliched).Any drastic step suggested would see negative reactions from various industry segments [ associated with TENSEX becoming ONESEX - poor PJ!!].

Health :
The Govt has already done significant improvements w.r.t Polio eradication and its pledge to eradicate it by Dec'07 is commendable. The allocation for NHM(National Health Mission) has also been increased. I was expecting some sort of a Health Insurance scheme to be announced for workers in 'special' sectors and small scale industries.Along with Polio eradication, I was expeting some policy/allocation for diseases like chickenpox,smallpox, and the new Avian-flu.Setting up of a Cental Monitoring Committee to address any pandemic was also expected. Animal husbandary should also have had a mention.

Education:
I have a strong inclination towards the betterment of education in this great country of ours and was expecting something substantial w.r.t IITs/IIMs/ITIs and some allocations for children from BPL(Below Poverty Line) families.

Eventhough, FM has increased the allocation for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Mid-Day Meal Scheme , I am not sure how much of this will be reflected at the grass-roots level; as the Govt is already sitting on a huge pile of unspent cash w.r.t Education.

The constuction of Five lakh additional class rooms and appointment of 150,000 additional teachers is worthy of praise - but I really doubt the quality w.r.t the same.Along the same lines, the mentioning of setting up of 1000 schools for SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities sends a clear signal to Congresse's commitment towards the 'so-called' minority segment.

Industry and Market:
The FM's commitment towards Power sector was visible with the announcement of Five mega power projects at the cost of Rs 4000 crore. Similary, setting up of a deep draft port in West Bengal , reconstitution of NHAI and raising of FII investment limit in stock markets have sent positive signals.I am not able to understand what the FM is referring to when he announced
"New towns to be established on specific themes" -- is this in anyway related to tourism or special status to some states.

Miscellaneous:
"Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) allocated for preparatory work for celebrating the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence of 1857 in a befitting manner." - Let us see how we celebrate it!!

"Old age pension to be increased to Rs 200 per month for above 75 years of age." -- Cant understand the funda behind this.

"A girl child will get Rs 3,000 deposited in a bank account after she enrolls for eighth class examination and the amount would be given when she becomes a major." -- does 3000INR really matter in this world. I mean, what can you get in 3k bucks??

Contentions:
Doubling the corpus for Maulana Azad Educational Foundation and increasing the allocation of national Urdu education programme would raise comments from Hindu organizations. At the same time, this reflects the Govt's initiative to cache in on the Muslim-Vote-Bank.

To appease the Hindus , FM has announced the declaration of Vedic chanting and Ram Lila under UNESCO heritage and has granted 5Crore INR for the same. This again is going to make the Communists and some factors in the UPA to turn hysterical.
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