|HOME | BUSINESS | INTERVIEWS|
April 17, 2000
The Rediff Business Interview/K Yerrannaidu
'The Plan panel must stop just allocating funds and involve in thought process too'
The leader of the Telugu Desam Party or TDP in Parliament, K Yerrannaidu has never demurred from criticising the National Democratic Alliance government, especially on budget-related issues.
The TDP leader spoke to Neena Haridas on what he thinks should be the development model for India and how planning and populism can be merged optimally.
What according to you is 'a perfect budget'?
The problem today is that preparing the budget has become a mechanical task. The budget should be approached with a fresh view every year. Efforts should be made to make it innovative. The objective should be to mobilise people. India's greatest concern today is rising population. Just imagine what we could achieve if we turn this into our strength.
We should evolve a development model that is people-driven. The secret, evidently, lies in turning our weakness into our strength.
To me, a perfect budget is one based on reality. I believe in zero-based budgeting. It is more result-oriented. Most of the time, the budget becomes a futile exercise because there is an effort to portray something that is not entirely true. Sometimes, reality and the projected figures are too far apart. It is then that people begin to lose faith in the budget.
Make people aware of the reality. Don't under-estimate them or try to impress them with unachievable figures. For, when people understand the situation you are in, they become far more accommodating.
Won't this lead to a populist budget every year? What about planning and development?
By involving people I don't mean developing a populist budget. I am talking about development in a planned manner where the human resource of the nation is involved and everyone benefits. Of course, there must be planning. The strength of our people should be used, in a planned manner, to develop the nation. But how do you do this? The Planning Commission will be a part of the entire development process, but in a much more evolved manner.
What do you mean by a 'more evolved manner'?
The Planning Commission's job is not just to allocate funds. It should be involved in the thought process, too. For instance, the Planning Commission members should visit all the states, get first-hand experience about what the locals want, and see what are the developmental problems there.
Then a plan to overcome these problems must be devised to set things right. What is the point in a whole lot of people sitting in Delhi and deciding what someone in, say, Cuddapah will get?
Another important thing that the Planning Commission should do is encourage states to mobilise people. It must look into how states spend their allocated funds, to make sure that the money is spent on the right development programmes. It is up to the Planning Commission to take action if states do not meet the target.
Do you think a finance minister can be really focussed on his agenda in a coalition government?
Yes, a coalition government is under pressure from various political parties and states. Every state wants the best treatment, otherwise the government is accused of being partisan. This is unfortunate.
However, if political parties and states start thinking in a positive way and ask for only those things that are actually needed in a state, the job of the finance minister becomes much easier. This can happen with members of all parties being more thoughtful.
You have been quite vociferous on subsidy cuts. But isn't it time that the economy and the industry began to survive without subsidies?
You know, there are people who still can't get one square meal a day in this country. And we talk about globalisation and liberalisation. We should (learn to survive without subsidies), but we must also think about our poor farmers and those living below the poverty line.
They need subsidy. By taking away subsidies, you are pushing the poor to the brink of disaster. Till such time as they begin to earn enough to absorb such shocks, there should be no paring of subsidies. The richer classes can pay for it.
Tell us what you think of this interview
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK