West Bengal & Andhra Pradesh: A Story of Fiscal Contrasts

While the Union Budget is the mother of all, it is now evident the State Budgets in combination or independently have a considerable direct impact on citizens. Particularly when one is in reasonable financial shape and the other is not, or is compelled by politics to keep prices or taxes down.   With more States … Continued

Army Chief Complains, Navy Gets To Spend It

India’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General V K Singh kicked up a holy row last week by revealing that he had been offered a Rs 14 crore bribe by an equipment lobbyist to favour the purchase of 600 sub-standard vehicles.   On the heels of the revelation that rocked the country followed the leak … Continued

The Silent Beneficiaries of Government Spending

In our special Budget 2012 edition, we pointed out how the Supplementary Grants process to get Parliamentary approval for increased expenditure (beyond budgetary allocations) was often likely to conceal potentially uncomfortable expenditure heads.   The reason being, that these expenditure heads are not scrutinised with the same intensity as they would be in the Finance … Continued

30% Of India’s Populace Deserves Better

In his Union Budget 2012 speech, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee allocated Rs 74,056 crore for education via the Ministry of Human Resource Development, as compared to Rs 63,363 crore in Budget 2011.   While fund allocations to Education have been rising in recent years, the literacy gap is not narrowing as fast as it should. … Continued

Budget 2012: The Surprise Top 10 Countdown

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget speech on March 16 said 2012 will be the year for Horticulture. One would assume that Agriculture would thus be a sector with high budgetary allocations. Actually, it does not figure in the top 10.   IndiaSpend’s Danielle Collaco used the opportunity to list the sectors with the … Continued

PranabDa’s Post Budget ‘Gift’ Which Not Many Account For

The Government of India usually puts in three Supplementary Demands for Grants with Parliament. Supplementary Demands essentially seek permission from the House to spend more than what was provisioned for in the Union Budget earlier in the year.   The first two Grants are during the course of the year, mostly in August and November. … Continued

Budget 2012 Hikes NREGA Outlay While Appearing To Slash

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is a `flagship’ scheme of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. The scheme, launched in February 2006, provides a daily wage to unemployed workers at an average of Rs 100 per day upto 100 days in a year.   The scheme has come under considerable criticism … Continued

Yadav’s Rs 2,40,000 Crore Mountain Of Debt & Promises Of Freebies

Uttar Pradesh’s incoming Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, rode in on the youthfulness of his demeanour and the attractiveness of his giveaways.   Mr Yadav, son of four-time Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, promised a slew of goodies ranging from unemployment allowance and loan waivers to free electricity, free laptops and tablet … Continued