New Delhi: If the railway budget is any indication, then there is cause for hope that the Union budget will focus more on vision than on atmospherics to grab voter eyeballs.
Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal has, in his debut budget, started where former rail minister Dinesh Trivedi left off—rather abruptly at that; he was ousted by his Trinamool Congress party boss Mamata Banerjee—and put in place a dynamic pricing mechanism that will ensure a pass-through of in
While freight rates will immediately come under the purview of the dynamic pricing mechanism, passenger fares will be spared for now—a concession the minister extended in the light of the fact that fares were increased last month. The plan is to effect revisions twice a year. As in the case of fuel prices, this will work both ways—a drop in international fuel prices will entail a reduction in domestic prices.
Net-net, the rail budget is an excellent effort from Bansal; especially given the extenuating circumstances and the temptation of playing electoral politics.
If the government (and the Congress party) approach Budget 2013 in a similar way—and the finance minister’s actions and words over the past month give us no reason to believe it won’t—we could well see a progressive and reform-minded budget being presented on Thursday.