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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 03 February, 2021

  • 3 Min Read

Budget as an instrument of politics

Budget as an instrument of politics

Upcoming infrastructure projects in election-going states

  • The largesse to the election-going States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam in the Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday was unmistakable.
  • The massive outlay of ?65,000 crore for the development of the NH 66 corridor in Kerala, as well as the announcement of the second phase of the Kochi Metro and the development of the Kochi fishing harbour as a commercial hub are big ticket budget proposals by any standard.
  • Ms. Sitharaman announced that national highway works worth ?19,000 crore are in progress in Assam and projects of more than ?34,000 crore covering over 1,300 km of national highways will be undertaken in the State within the next three years.
  • For West Bengal, there is a new “Economic Corridor” covering 675 km of national highway, with an expected investment of ?25,000 crore.
  • For Tamil Nadu, the proposed projects could cost up to one lakh crore rupees. This includes the Chennai Metro Rail (phase two) of 118.9 km for ?63,246 crore and two expressways connecting Chennai.

Social sector interventions in election-going states

  • Budget also seeks notable social sector interventions in these States. Assam and West Bengal get a special scheme, with a ?1,000 crore outlay, for the welfare of tea workers, especially women and children.
    • Plantation workers and descendants — or “tea tribes” and “ex-tea tribes”comprise almost 20% of Assam’s total population, and are a decisive factor in many Assembly seats, in Assam and West Bengal.

Conclusion

  • The Budget is an instrument of politics, but it should not be predicated entirely on immediate electoral calculations.
  • The projects here will take a few years to complete, but have considerable transformative potential.

Source: TH


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