Saturday, March 01, 2008

Best newspaper Budget coverage...

Yes, and the award goes to... The Times of India. Or so I think. The Economic Times lost the plot, Papermint was a bit too understated, EchTee didn't get the plot. The other business dailies weren't bad, but nobody exactly reads them. The channels yesterday did go a bit overboard, but surprisingly I thought that Undie Profit did a fairly decent job everytime they did not cut away to the BOmbay studio audience, but CNBC was still very good. Didn't watch the other channels so I won't comment.
What I will comment about is the budget. In his interviews, where Chiddu has learnt from Dubya (and Star Wars) he has defended the Rs 60,000 crore waiver package to farmers. His best quote I heard was in my publications interview (though we edited this bit out), "You are either for the farmer or against the farmer!" when he was asked a question on this move of his encouraging delinquency (he did not give one straight answer and looked terribly pissed off). Absolutisms are very dangerous things, but anyway. While I do not think a lot of thought has been put into the waiver, and I'm sure Chiddu (Chodu) will think of the way to raise the funds to pay off the banks after he believes he will re-elected (hopefully not, because by all indicators, the AIADMK will sweep TN) and hopefully, the rest of the clowns will lose too.
But, while the waiver is a political stunt, is it a very bad thing? Is it as bad as promising electricity for two hours and then delivering sub-standard electricity. Well, the problem is that a large majority of Indian farmers are still unbanked (and lend money from dalals, who I don't think are as generous as Chids out here) and while this will undoubtedly help farmers, lifting them away from a cycle of debt I also think that banks might now be loathe to give out loans in rural areas. Anyway, the loan only covers 'agricultural loans', and many farmers, in places like Vidarbha are indebted because of their other loans, to buy things such as motorcycles. Though, I did think that the folks from Hero Honda were quite happy since farmers will now be able to afford more bikes and drive themselves to indebtedness on a new cycle altogether.
Of course, because the waiver is being done super-fast, presumably for an October election, there might not be time to teach the farmers the virtues of fiscal discipline, which has to be done. I also believe that this scheme will see a high-level of corruption down the line and actual implementation could be a challenge, which could blow on the UPA's face.
BREAKING : We knew Chiddu had a short fuse, but he reportedly walked out from Raghav Behl's interview with him today on CNBC (which will be edited out now) and Shereen was sent to scamper after Chids with her smile. Heard that did not work either. If you have a video of the walk-out please to mail across or send me the YouTube link.
But anyway, check out the trailer from Tarsem Singh's new movie called 'The Fall' which was shot extensively in Jodhpur and Ladakh. The plot might end up being horrible, but what amazing imagery!


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

townie boy,

very obviously you know little abt why farmers in vidarbha or elsewhere 'splurge' on two-wheelers. It is certainly not to show off. To begin with there is no public transport worth its name, so if someone is sick at home you need a bike to take that person to hospital.

Two, a two-wheeler is also essential to transport goods to market. Okay you cannot take food grains to the market on a two-wheeler, but you can take chickens to the mandi.

Similarly, a bike with a sidecar attached is useful in bringing farm inputs to the homestead.

In the North, a bike is also a substitute for a bull. you can attack a plow to a bike and work the fields.

you obviously do not know such things. But then you belong to the drum beaters of the BJP. You are not expected to know such things anyway.

I guess India was shining for you in 2004. Now it is probably scorching hot for your kind!

thalassa_mikra said...

"fiscal discipline" eh? Now who shall preach the virtues of fiscal discipline to our urban sophisticates?