Rs 18,782-crore Hole Stares At Suresh Prabhu

  “Prabhu, yeh kaise hoga? (God, how will this happen?)”   In droll fashion, that was the rhetorical question Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu posed to himself and God, as he presented the first full railway budget of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).   And well he might.   Prabhu’s ministry intends to invest Rs 856,020 … Continued

Spending Soars. Yet, India’s Military In Crisis

  The defence budget of India—the world’s largest arms importer—has more than doubled over the past decade from Rs 80,500 crore to Rs 229,000 crore for the financial year 2014-15.   Yet, the defence forces are critically short of arms, and men and women at arms.   The army, navy and air force are short … Continued

Health Crisis Needs Money—But That Isn’t Enough

  India bears 21% of the global disease burden, losing at least 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) to premature death and preventable illness.   Every indicator is grim. About 90% of treatments for childhood diarrhoea and pneumonia–the leading causes of death among Indian children–are wrong and 56 out of every 1,000 kids under the age of … Continued

282 Million Illiterate Indians: Education Waits For The Big Bang

Underprivileged kids being taught under a Metro bridge in Delhi.   You would think a country of 282 million illiterate people and an ambition to become one of the world’s leading economies would invest more in education. But despite a growing annual budget, India just does not do enough.   The Ministry of Human Resource … Continued

Just Luck: Up To 20% Drop In Subsidies Likely

  Food, fuel and fertiliser: These three subsidies have been a recurring nightmare for Indian finance ministers trying to present a balanced budget.   In last year’s budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set aside Rs 2.51 lakh crore (just over $40 billion) for the top three subsidies. In comparison, the total allocation for defence was … Continued

The Skyrocketing Benefits of India’s Services

  Tax collections from service tax, first introduced in 1994, will cross customs and excise duties for the first time in the financial year 2014-15, an indication of the growing importance of services to India’s economy.   The only two tax heads that will contribute more than service tax are corporate tax and income tax. … Continued