Kumar Mangalam Birla on Budget | india | Hindustan Times
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Kumar Mangalam Birla on Budget

The Budget 2006 gives prominence to both growth as well as development. The Finance Minister has explicitly stated that the best way to develop is to grow.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 02:02 IST
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The Budget 2006 gives prominence to both growth as well as development. The Finance Minister has explicitly stated that the best way to develop is to grow.

Towards that end, there are a number of initiatives aimed at putting India's economy on an 8-10 per cent growth track. There is an accent on completion of the Golden Quadrilateral by 2008. By 2006-end, contracts are proposed to be awarded for the five ultra mega power projects, paving the way for an additional 20,000 mw of generating capacity.

There are measures to sustain agricultural growth -- among those the target of doubling farm credit over the next three years.

In the area of industry, sectors like textiles, tourism and petrochemicals have been identified for special focus. Industrial growth should also get a push from the rationalisation of indirect taxation. The lowering of excise duty on certain items is consumer-friendly. It will lower prices, increase demand and enable manufacturers to increase scale.

The government has also chalked out an ambitious target to attain of attaining a 1.5 per cent share of global exports within the next 3 years.

Most encouragingly, the Budget gets back on the track of fiscal consolidation, with the revenue deficit for the coming year targeted at 2.1 per cent and the fiscal deficit at 3.8 per cent. If achieved, these would indeed be large strides.

The Budget also reinforces the commitment to development and equity, with a special thrust to social sectors. Substantial increases have been announced on the outlays for education, health and family welfare, rural employment, and mid-day meals schemes. The eight flagship programmes of the Bharat Nirman have been granted a 43 per cent increase in funds allocation.

(The author is chairman, Aditya Birla Group)