In a first, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, on Monday , responds to citizens' questions on the Union Budget 2013-14 by joining a multi-party video conference on Google+ Hangout.
What the FM said:
On the Union Budget:
Given the restricted economic space, i think we did what could be done.
On funds allocated to women's safety and empowerment:
- Ideas have to be fleshed-out.
- Rs1000 crore was put away for this purpose; will work with ministries, departments, NGOS to find out how the money will be used to ensure the security of women.
- A lot of homework was done on women's bank. There will be six HQs in six regions of India. The bank will be inaugurated by November.
- We want to take preparatory steps by March-early April.
On whether the Budget was a 'Big Bang' one:
- There's no Big Bang anywhere in the world, we can't invent one. we're trying to stabilise the economy.
These big bangs may make for good theatre, there is really no big bang.
On the absence of 'theatre' in Budget speech:
- Have lined up list of companies to be disinvested. We will raise Rs40,00 crore. It's a work in progress.
- First disinvestment in April.
- Find out what else the FM had to say by clicking on the image below to access a live feed:
Chidambaram is joined by a group of esteemed panelists on a Google+ Hangout. It includes among others Jahangir Aziz, Senior Asia Economist and India Chief Economist, JP Morgan, Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra, Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President, Google Inc. and Manish Chokhani, MD & CEO, Axis Capital.
The session is moderated by senior journalist Senthil Chengalvarayan.
Chidambaram responds to citizens who submited their questions to either by uploading a video or commenting on the YouTube channel, or through the Google India +Page and tagging text or a video with the hashtag #asktheFM.
This is a powerful communications platform and is accessible across the world for internet users. Google+ Hangouts allow up to 10 people participating at a point of time. One can later share the hangout on YouTube or live stream it using Hangouts on Air.
Citizens will be able to watch the special budget Google+ Hangout live through the Google India +Page at google.com/+GoogleIndia or on the InConversation YouTube channel.