Slice of Life - I
The Other " Let's subscribe to the mint."
Me: Sure!! Do they give away free coins to subscribers?
The Other: No, they just got started, i don't think they are that badly off, yet!
Me: Which mint?
The Other: The paper, what did you think?
Me: Never mind!
And so it happened, that the desi avatar of the Wall Street Journal entered our house.
In abount 15 days, the paperwala got a frantic call at 6:00 a.m.
"Can you please get rid of the mint and give us the Economic Times again? "
Objective of post: Our review of the new paper.
Slice of Life - II.
P Chidambaram presents budget. Me sees it at the end of the work day, expecting no real surprises - this cheaper, that dearer, petrol higher, kerosene lower? ...
Boy! Were there surprises! That was a Richter 10.0 Budget!
My unanswered questions:
1. Farm Procurement Prices are not increased, but agriculture subsidy is increased. Are we making fishing easier or handing out free fish to get a few votes?
2. How will it be ensured that all this welfare freebie booty does not end up where it usually does - in the houses of the politicians and the bureaucrats?
3. Where are the audited results of the Education Cess Collections and expenditure of last year?
4. What is the selection ratio we are looking at in providing 1 lakh scholarships between 9th and 12th classes? Even at a measly estimate of roughly 5 million students in the target beneficiary group, we are left with a selection ratio of 1:50! What are we trying to achieve here?
5. After the Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, what was the pre and post per capita and average household income of the beneficiary families? How many beneficiary families did we have?
6. Why do we need a Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and a Singur at the same time?
7. Export of commodities stopped but forwards trading not stopped. Why?
8. Ban on skimmed milk to reduce prices of milk. What is the cause of shortage?
9. No analysis on the cause of general country wide inflation.
10. "Two lakh more teachers to be employed and five lakh more classrooms to be constructed. " - What about accountability for the infrastructure that already exists?
11. Defence Outlay increased by 7.8 percent - What is the breakup of this amount in terms of :
A. Increase in staff expenditure
B. Research and Development
C. Capacity building for all the 3 forces
What will we achieve with 7.8%?
My Take: This is not a nightmare budget. Nightmares are better.