Pranab peppers speech with Gandhi, Kautilya quotes | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Pranab peppers speech with Gandhi, Kautilya quotes

Quoting the sayings of medieval India's political thinker Kautilya as well as Mahatma Gandhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today punctuated his budget speech with words of wisdom, wit and humour.

delhi Updated: Jul 06, 2009 15:56 IST

In preparing some of his fiscal proposals, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee found inspiration in Mahatma Gandhi and Kautilya, both of whom he quoted in his budget speech on Monday.

In concluding his budget speech, Mukherjee turned to the Father of the Nation.

"Mahatma Gandhi said and I quote, 'Democracy is the art and science of mobilising the entire physical, economic and spiritual resources of various sections of the people in the service of the common good of all.'

"This is precisely what we will have to do. With strong hearts, enlightened minds and willing hands, we will have to overcome all odds and remove all obstacles to create a brave new India of our dreams," the finance minister said.

Earlier in his speech, he quoted Kautilya, the pragmatist strategist from third century BC and author of the Sanskrit treatise on political science "Arthshastra".

Pointing out that the short-term fiscal stimulus has to be balanced against long-term prudence and fiscal sustainability objectives, Mukherjee quoted Kautilya- "In the interest of the prosperity of the country, a king shall be diligent in foreseeing the possibility of calamities, try to avert them before they arise, overcome those which happen, remove all obstructions to economic activity and prevent loss of revenue to the state."

He then added, "I intend to take Kautilya's advice and return to the FRBM [Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act] target for fiscal deficit at the earliest and as soon as the negative effects of the global crisis on the Indian economy have been overcome."

Before turning to his tax proposals, Mukherjee said, "I cannot resist the temptation of re-visiting Kautilya. He said and I quote, 'Just as one plucks fruits from a garden as they ripen, so shall a King have revenue collected as it becomes due. Just as one does not collect unripe fruits, he shall avoid taking wealth that is not due because that will make the people angry and spoil the very sources of revenue'."