Attending Budget Session Live in the Parliament

Ashish Singh

As every citizen of India, I always wanted to see our temple of democracy, the Parliament of India. Finally I got the opportunity to visit the parliament on the most awaited budget day of 2015-16, through my regional MP Shri Ganesh Singh ji (MP SATNA).

The big hall of Lok Sabha was same as I had seen in the television. As I entered the hall, I suddenly got so excited on seeing the Hon’ble Prime minister of India sitting very silently on the right corner of first bench. For me as common citizen of India, it is a dream come true to see our Prime Minister at such close vicinity. After sometime our finance minister started reading the union budget for this year. Everyone in the visitor’s lobby became silent and listened to the budget very profoundly.

This budget was very special as government within a nine month proved that it is going in the right direction as Indian economy has turned around dramatically in the last nine months with the real GDP growth expected to accelerate to 7.4% making India the fastest growing economy in the world. I got to see Government in action and witness Parliamentary budget session of 15-16. The first budget of NDA Govt. led by Mr Modi was visionary and will give mileage to the economic growth of the nation. The main focus of the budget was to make our country investment friendly through several policies.

I personally liked the following policies in this budget:

(1) Monetization of Gold: As India is the largest consumer of gold in the world, it is a very good idea to put gold directly into the economy of the nation as the government will release the sovereign gold bond. The bonds will carry a fixed interest rate, and will be redeemable in cash pegged to the face value of gold at the time of maturity. The government will also print gold coins which will carry the face of Ashoka Chakra- a symbol depicting India’s highest peacetime military decoration, which will motivate several people to buy this coin.

(2) Tax Policies: Finally the government has promised efforts on various fronts to implement GST from next year. Direct tax exemptions were not given to the middle class but a wavier by promoting health insurances. Government has planned to give tax benefits through many pension schemes (i.e Atal Pension Yojana etc.) to make the citizens self-dependent after retirement from their job. Increment in service tax is a bitter news for middle class as it will increase the rate of common commodities. On the other hand, deduction in corporate tax for the coming four years will make our nation investment friendly.

(3). MNREGA: There was big buzz in the news that the new government will banish the MNREGA scheme or will deduct its budget. But this government has increased the budget of MNREGA by 5K crores and provides job security for most suppressed BPL people and rural people of the nation. Rural people will have economic security through this temporary work.

(4)Mudra Bank: Setting up of Mudra bank will help in building an entrepreneur friendly environment. It will help to set up more small scale firms or startups which will further create many jobs. In the Mudra Bank, priorities will be given to SC/ST and OBC enterprises. It will put these sections of the society in main stream business world.

(5)Agriculture: India is an agriculture based economy. Our nation’s 62% population is involved in this sector. Hence there was a strong need to boost this sector. The government has taken a positive step to put 8.5 lakh crores for the farmers to take loans from the bank.

(6) Team India vision: It really sounds good that the budget has targeted to provide all basic needs (i.e. housing, drinking water, electricity & sanitation) to all the citizens by 2022, marking 75 years of India’s independence. India will celebrate 2022 as amrut mahotsava. I wish that the government will be able to fulfil this target and make India a developed nation by 2022.

Overall budget was promising. India is a nation which has the largest young population in the whole world. It is a big challenge for this government to provide them jobs and create a business friendly environment. Hopefully this budget will be able to fill the gaps.

Ashish is a 2nd year student at IIT Delhi and a campus ambassador at Vision India Foundation.

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100 days: Journey so far

Vision India Foundation was launched on 6th November 2014 by Shri Suresh Prabhu and Dr R Balasubramaniam at IIT Delhi. As we complete 100 days, we want to share our journey so far.

We started as an initiative by alumni and faculty members of different IITs. Now we are represented at 20 different institutes of repute around the world through our campus ambassadors. The ambassadors come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from political science to technology, from economics to business administration. Through the ambassadors, Vision India Foundation engages young passionate individuals in the process of nation-building. We do this through events, fellowships, workshops, discussion groups, and more.

Our fellowships are an opportunity to work with high-impact policy makers. For the fellowships, we are working with a state government, two parliamentarians, an academic, two grassroots organizations and a social enterprise. The projects are spread over six Indian states. They cover varied focus areas like e-governance, rural development, legal reforms, and much more.

In addition to the upcoming projects mentioned above, two people from our team have already started working full-time with Andhra Pradesh government and Vinod Khanna, Hon’ble Member of Parliament Lok Sabha.

We have opened the online applications for our fellowships and motivated people from all over the country are applying. It is indeed a very difficult process to select best from the highly deserving applications that we have received. We are also organizing a summer school in public policy, titled ‘Policy BootCamp’. The details will be available on our website soon. The BootCamp will be an intensive residential program and will be first-of-its-kind in the world.

We thank all our team members, supporters and well-wishers who have encouraged us in this journey. We believe that in the years to come, we will bring some concrete turning-points in the story of India.