ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Is Different

AFTER taking charge of the finance portfolio, Madhu Dandavate had been nothing if not eloquent about the need to overhaul economic policies and even change the growth model itself. Addressing the Yusuf Meherally Centre in Bombay recently he asserted quite categorically, "we must totally reject the 'trickle down' theory of growth introduced by the previous government, where the common masses would have to wait with begging bowls for the riches from the affluent sections to be gravitationally pulled in". On numerous other occasions the finance minister had decried the massive budgetary deficits in recent years arising out of the sharp increase in the government's non-development expenditure and the overall mismanagement of the economy by the Congress(I) government. He had promised tax measures ''to curb conspicuous consumption by the rich and the upper middle-class" which, he emphasised, was essential for mobilising larger resources to fulfill the government's commitment of "allocating 50 per cent of the central plan expenditure for the benefit of the rural poor". He also acknowledged that his first budget was going to be crucial and "had to be anti-inflationary and pro-people". Against these expectations the budget for 90-91, presented on March 19 is a colossal let-down, for in its essential features it is indistinguishable from the budgets of the Congress(I) government.

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