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My Budget: Patrick French

Business Standard 

Are you happy with the budget?

Best thing about the budget?
Government borrowing is going to be lower than expected. You can’t run a huge fiscal deficit for a long time and expect it not to impact on the way the country works. One good thing is the introduction of direct cash transfer to individuals below the poverty line, as an alternative to giving subsidies on kerosene and fertiliser.

The worst thing?

Let’s concentrate on the good bits.

Does the budget address your fears for India?
In an economic context, my fear is that India will not grasp how important it is to tackle corruption: it impinges at every level, it hits the poor hardest, and it attracts only the worst kind of foreign investors. The budget addresses this matter — tentatively.

If you were Finance Minister, what would you have done?
Unless the Constitution is amended, I am not eligible to become finance minister.

Patrick French, Writer & Historian, Author of India: A Portrait

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First Published: Tue, March 01 2011. 00:09 IST