Politics

Taking part in budget-making: What an idea, finance minister sir ji… Can it really be done?

The ministry of finance has very kindly decided to make the “2016 Budget” more inclusive and participatory. It has invited suggestions from ordinary folks in order to infuse more transparency into the budget-making exercise, and to have people as partners in the process of budget-making.

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Asking over half-a-billion people to recommend ideas that the Government intends to include in the final draft, the suitable ones, is extremely challenging. It is like opening the flood gates and being drowned in the pool of suggestions!

Who will filter through the countless number of public suggestions? Who, and how many, will monitor and analyse the in-comings, what will be the nature of the infrastructure involved, where will the manpower come from?

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In a country like India, everyone is a self-proclaimed expert in everything, cricket being a classic example. We believe we can assess a game better than an expert. As far as politics is concerned, everyone has an opinion on how India could scale greater heights in quick time.

The ministry will be bombarded with millions upon millions of ideas, every idea hopeful of finding its place in the finance minister’s budget briefcase.

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The government has started working on the budget of 2016, but converting its novel idea of ‘inclusive budget’ into tangible result could prove to be more difficult than imagined.

Instead of attempting to do the impractical, the finance minister should present a budget, in all his wisdom, and in consultation with the experts, that takes care of every section of the society. The emphasis should be more on the working-class and the disempowered, who need most of the Government’s attention. Unfortunately, the existing public perception has affected the ratings of the NDA Government. The Government is perceived as pro-rich and anti-poor.

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The Congress, quick to pounce on an opportunity to attack the Modi-Government, only adds fuel to fire.

If the NDA government intends to lead India beyond 2019, it needs to arrest the self-damaging trend and introduce more people-friendly, not corporate-friendly, policies.

The initiative to invite suggestions might have been made in haste.