Union Budget 2010: Promises and Outcome<

Why should the government make promises, if it can’t keep?

As usual, in this budget speech too, the finance minister made some promises:

Government has targeted construction of national highways (NHs) at the pace of 20 km per day. I wish Pranab Mukharji would have given the number of working days that would have been used to calculate the total road length that the government will build in its tenure.

Interestingly, the government had earlier promised a slum free India in five years. However, the finance minister intelligently replaced years by a phrase ‘at the earliest’ while allocating fund for the purpose in the budget. No one can now pin down the government for failure. (The Government’s efforts in the implementation of RAY would be to encourage the States to create a slum free India at the earliest.

Further, along with the RBI, the finance minister promised and pronounced the government’s decision to provide appropriate banking facilities to habitations having population in excess of 2000 by March, 2012. If it happens that will be a great achievement. It sounds like the targets of Bharat Nirmaan that had a time frame for each of the infrastructure given by the prime minister himself. Where is the commitment to meet the promises?

And now let us note the biggest of the promises. “To provide timely delivery of justice to all, the Government has approved the setting up of the National Mission for Delivery of Justice and Legal Reforms. The objective of the mission is to help reduce legal backlog in courts from an average of 15 years at present to 3 years by 2012.” I wish the Missions, Councils, and Taskforces start performing.

Normally, the government never provides the outcome in the budget, it allocates the money for all project. For example, it never says so many kilometers of roads will be built in a particular period. Perhaps, it is intentional to avoid accountability for outcome.

Why has the government not given a target date of the completion of the dedicated freight corridor, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project that has been taken up for integrated regional development?

Many a times, all these exercises including budget preparation and presentation appear to be getting carried out mechanically with no accountability factors built in them.

I don’t understand why a time frame has been given for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission where an ambitious target of 20,000 MW of solar power by the year 2022 has been set under the mission. Is it because of the global pressure coming from Copenhagen Summit?

Will the government start acting on implementation now?

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