Arun Jaitley’s maiden budget aimed at overhauling the crumbling economy seems to have a strong political message too. The Finance Minister has tried to woo states where either polls are due in the next one year or where BJP has a personal interest.
Following the footsteps of UPA by expanding AIIMS beyond Delhi, Jaitley in his budget proposed to create such institutions in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Vidarbha (Maharashtra) and Poorvanchal (Uttar Pradesh). While in Andhra, BJP has an alliance with Telugu Desam Party (TDP), election is due this year in Maharashtra.
Jaitley also announced setting up of five more IITs in Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Moreover, five IIMs would be set up in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra.
The list of states is more or less on the expected lines as in ten out of four states BJP has to go for polls. More so, in Chhattisgarh, Goa and Punjab BJP is part of the government.
Similarly, Jaitley issued Rs 100 crore for the development of Metro rail projects in Ahmedabad and Lucknow. BJP has a direct interest in both the cities. BJP has its government in Gujarat and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is the sitting MP from Lucknow.
In poll bound J&K, the government has announced Rs 500 crore for displaced Kashmiri migrants and Rs 50 crore for Pashmina production programme in the state. The sum of Rs 200 crore has been issued for upgrading indoor and outdoor stadiums in both in Jammu and Kashmir Valley.
The Minister also proposed to establish Agriculture Universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and Horticulture Universities in Telangana and Haryana. Apart from the tie-up with TDP in Andhra, BJP has a government in Rajasthan. Haryana is also scheduled to go for election this year.
The budget 2014 also includes setting-up of mega textile clusters at Varanasi, Bareilly, Lucknow, Surat, Kuttch, Bhagalpur, Mysore and one in Tamil Nadu with a sum of Rs 200 crore. Interestingly, in six out of seven places BJP has its own MPs.
The government has also proposed to take up Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and J&K. BJP has its government in Rajasthan and Gujarat while J&K is going to poll soon.
In the budget, the Finance Minister doled out a handsome amount for north-eastern states. He proposed Rs 1000 core rail connectivity in north-eastern region. The budget also has a proposal of setting up a Sports University in Manipur. A sum of Rs 100 crore has been set aside for development of organic farming in the region.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the floor of the House had stressed on transforming the whole of north-eastern region into an organic state.
The message is clear, whether his critics like or not Jaitley’s budget is political correct!