British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Foreign Minister William Hague were enthused to see the unveiling of the Acheh din Budget while they were there in India.
The Modi government's first Budget, delivered in the Indian parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, was really brilliant. "It is the best plan we could afford the Indian nation, according to the money we have in our pocket," Modiji is reported to have announced. Within those parameters, it is nothing short of brilliant, and augers much development and creation of jobs, which will greatly contribute to an increasing common prosperity for the people.
There are plans to build 100 new towns. This is exactly what has been needed for a long time. This will brighten up crumbling inner city areas and turn some of the them into satellite towns, where they would become the local centres for commerce and some industrialisation, leading to create jobs where people live so they don't have to travel on the crowded trains. That is so practical, so visionary.
They intend to build a major hospital in each State, so presumably the newly created state of Telangana will also be in line for a world-class teaching and treatment facility. Certainly some of the neglected States can do with, such as the eastern board states of Meghalaya, Arunchal, Orissa, West Bengal.
The government will create a programme of paying a monetary reward to people who keep the birth of a girl-child (instead of aborting or worse still getting rid of the child upon birth, as happens in some communities, due to the financial hardships they fear). This will certainly be very welcome measure throughout India. More houses can say "Laxmi has arrived" when they get a daughter. With some money towards schooling, this will no doubt be of great assistance.
There are measures to help Entrepreneurs as well as the rural youth, by job creation measure. This is excellent, and I hope when translated into reality, this will bring much joy.
I often wonder why Indian doesn't actually start a fully fledged social security state. The 40 billionaires who have fortunes as big as the richest billionaires in the world can certainly afford to share some of their wealth. But that is a moot point, as is the bringing home of the two to four Trillion Dollars of Indians' savings which are said to be stored overseas, paying interest in some cases or 'gathering dust'. Such an amount could be brought back once the government declares an amnestry and promises not to penalise or punish those who have stashed the money overseas. And that would be the most logical and humane course of action, to benefit the nation as a whole eventually.
I also believe India needs at least three more nuclear power plants, to satisfy the need for power in the oppressive heat. As Modiji sets out on his visits to Japan and the U.S. in the next few weeks, I guess these will be on his agenda. Bringing in international co-operation would be a good step to speed up the process of bringing development and comfort to India, something that is so obviously needed but the past governments just did not think of doing much about. With the caring and proactive government under Modiji, I sincerely hope this suggestion will receive some consideration.
To bring the Acheh din forward, maybe the RBI could reduce the benchmark interest rate? 8 percent is too high, and I would say that it is obviously the primary factor in the recent slowdown in economic activity. Just in the exuberance of the Modi government's inauguration, the industrial production has picked up. Inflows of money from overseas for the stockmarket have been forthcoming. So now surely the RBI committee can have faith that investment will be forthcoming if the environment is better, and the best environment for economic growth will be lower interest rates, perhaps converging towards 6 percent?
The world wants to woo Modiji, and help India unleash the huge potential growth. I feel sure Modiji will receive a blue carpet welcome both in Japan and the U.S. and these friendly nations will offer India the support and encouragement that just seems to need confirmation.
Acheh din zaroor Bharat ke liye aane lageh heh.
Durudarshan H. Dadlani