ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Privatisation Magic Wand or Budgetary Cop-Out

Privatisation: Magic Wand or Budgetary Cop-Out? JM THE annual ritual of pre-budget meetings of the finance minister has many purposes, but these mostly have very little to do with the stated objective of generating ideas about how to approach the forthcoming budget exercise. It does not require a great deal of cynicism to discern this; after all, it would be surprising if, even as late as two months before the presentation of the budget, the finance ministry actually has no idea about the future course of action. Thus these meetings have a slightly different, three-fold. orientation: firstly, to give various pressure groups (industrialists, trade unions, and now, farmers' organisations) a chance to vent their steam and express their own desires; secondly, to imply that this is an 'open' government which is open to suggestion from outsiders, including 'experts' drawn from the field of economics; thirdly (and possibly most significantly) to test the water for some of the government's actual intentions, by giving prominence to certain ideas which conform to the government's vision. These meetings thus assume significance essentially because they provide pointers about what the next year's budget may contain, if the government's own intentions are realised.

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