Monday, July 6, 2009

Pranab Da's budget should be hailed

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The most obvious reaction to the Union budget 2009 has been that the industry leaders do not seem to be satisfied with it. The markets have rejected it with the sensex going on a dive of more than 600 points at Pranab Mukherjee was presenting the budget. Perhaps the most crucial budget since the one's in Narasimha Rao government Pranab has stayed with the 'Aam Aadmi' slogan of the Congress party plans to bridge the gap between the rural and the urban India.

Prime Minister Dr. Mahmohan Singh's statement that the gap between 'India' and 'Bharat' needs to be narrowed shows the vision of the government. Considering more than half of the people in this country live in the rural areas this budget should be hailed coming out in this hour of financial crisis. Prabab said the first challenge is to return the GDP growth rate of 9 per cent per annum at the same time deepen and broaden the agenda for inclusive development.

People in the service industry have something to cheer about with the Income Tax Exemption limit being raised for senior citizens by Rs.15,000, for women and others by Rs 10,000. The Finance Minister also promised that the Government will work towards simplifying the tax structure in the next four years and introduce a simplified version of the tax filing. Mr Mukherjee said that the government will also look at disinvestment promising equity of state-run enterprises in the hands of general public.

Some of the highlights of this budget are:

  • Defence gets Rs 1,41,703 crore for 2009-10, a 34 per cent hike from 2008-09 budgetary allocation of Rs 1,05,600 crore.
  • Higher education allocation increased by Rs 2,000 crore.
  • Rs 827 crore each allocated to set up Central Universities in states where there are no Central University.
  • Allocation for National Rural Health Mission to be raised by Rs 257 crore over and above the outlay in the Interim Budget.
  • Action initiated to provide social security to unorganised sector workers.
  • Work on National Food Security scheme for providing food at cheaper rates to the poor has begun
  • Allocation for national highways development stepped up by 23 pc
  • Allocation for schemes for the urban poor to be raised to Rs.39,730 cr in 2009-10
  • Funds for Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission increased by 87 pc to Rs 12,887 cr
  • 75 per cent increase for Accelerated Irrigation Programme
  • National Mission for Female Literacy with emphasis on minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to be launched. Fifty per cent of all rural women to be brought into self-help group programmes.

True this budget may not have been as the industry had expected but the amount of investment that this budget promises in the social sector must be commended. After all there are people who still do not have access to roads, water and electricity deserve urgent attention. The growth of the nation as they say has to be inclusive.


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