Budget 2004

Published : Aug 13, 2004 00:00 IST

I have been exposed to a variety of comments on the Budget, but none so far was unequivocally and clearly reflective of the feelings of the "common man" as the Cover Story articles "An exercise in evasion" and "A disappointing blend" (Frontline, July 30). The concluding sentence of the Cover Story - "... it has dressed the Budget in pro-poor rhetoric, but chosen not to implement what it claims it has set to do" - says it all. The present government, and all previous ones for that matter, have made tall claims and promises, but failed equally, to implement them. The reason for their failure is "politics". To a large extent, the failure is related to the woeful misuse of the limited funds allocated for the needy.

K. Rama IyengarChennai

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The Cover Story is a thorough analysis of the first Budget of the UPA government, the CMP and the dilemmas of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. The Congress and its allies won the 14th Lok Sabha election on a pro-rural, pro-farmer plank. But Chidambaram seems to have forgotten the vision of the CMP while preparing the Budget. He directly or indirectly followed the path of the previous NDA government at the Centre. He tried to reduce the fiscal deficit and the revenue deficit by cutting the planned expenditure on rural employment generation programmes, neglecting sectors such as education, health and infrastructure.

Akhil KumarDelhi

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The subheading of my article on the Budget, "The missing `Human Face'" (Frontline, July 30) says: "The budget has missed the opportunity to reconcile liberalisation with the welfare of the masses, as UPA leaders appeared to promise... ". It gives the impression that I believe such a reconciliation to be possible. I do not. The subheading, which is not extracted from the article, conveys an impression about my views which is precisely the opposite of what they are.

Prabhat PatnaikNew Delhi

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A tribal tradition

Asha Krishnakumar's "Trade and a tradition" (Frontline, July 30) made fascinating reading. My fear is that the intrusion of `outsiders' will not only lead to the exploitation of the tribal people in the national and global market place, but also the extinction of a way of life that has evolved over centuries. The "brown revolution", for instance, carries within it the seeds of destruction. While niche marketing of organic coffee will no doubt bring in initial profits and foreign exchange, it will also place the farmers, who will shift from subsistence to export-oriented farming, at the mercy of market speculators and middlemen. Many other kinds of exploitation also tend to take place when traditional markets like shandies are commercialised and/or made into tourism hotspots.

Hari ChathrattilSyracuse, New York


While the media in general is agog with the tales of Delhi's crorepatis, Frontline deserves praise for having brought to focus the plight of the city's `poorpatis' ("Breath of death", July 30). The government should introduce special schemes to support victims of Silicosis and other occupational diseases. Awareness needs to be created among workers about the various occupational hazards and precautionary measures that need to be taken.

A. Jacob SahayamThiruvananthapuram

Letter from America

In the article "An Indian American Election" (Frontline, July 16), Vijay Prashad was definitely correct in stating that Indian Americans are becoming more assertive in the political arena, especially with the growing ties between our community and the Republican Party. He unfortunately rehashed old, worn stereotypes about Republicans and spent more time engaging in rhetoric rather than in a meaningful political discussion.

There are eight Indian Americans going to the Republican national convention; Indian Americans are staff members to leading Republican Members of Congress; the next Indian American Congressman will be Republican Bobby Jindal; and 14 Indian Americans serve as political appointees in the administration of President George W. Bush, more than any other Presidency. In 2001, the Indian American Republican Council (IARC) formed and we now have 11 independent state affiliates. We also have the Indian American Network for Bush-Cheney organisation, and many second-generation Indian American conservatives are volunteering to help reelect President Bush.

The author focusses on class division in our community citing unsupported statistics - an argument that John Edwards uses to divide America - rather than supporting a vision of personal responsibility, ambition and drive, espoused by Republicans to unite us in a common goal for our community and nation. It is this desire for success that makes the Republican Party welcome us. Indian Americans represent the American dream. Many of us had nothing when we came here, but through sheer dedication and hard work, we attained financial success and also success in raising our families. Further, the author is dead wrong on issues important to our community.

Many Indian Americans want to control the illegal immigration problem here because we have seen firsthand the links between illegal immigration and terrorism in America and India. Many Indian Americans are pro-life because we have seen the devastating effects abortion and infanticide have had in India and realise that true gender equality cannot be achieved until girls have the same right to life and opportunities as boys. This starts with the right to be born. Many Indian Americans support the death penalty because we recognise the inherent evil in crimes committed against innocent people and know such evil people who can so easily take the life of another with no remorse do not deserve to live amongst us.

There are many Indian Americans who are conservative, and the author is mistaken in referring to the "fanatical extremism" of Bush Republicans. In fact, Republicans are where mainstream America is, that is why the majority of state legislatures, majority of governorships, majority in Congress, and the White House are Republican. This is because the Republican Party represents mainstream American values and Democrats reflect a clear liberal tilt and are out of touch with the American people. After all, it was just ten years ago that Democrats were in the majority in all the legislative and executive branches mentioned above. The Democrats shifted to the extreme left and the Republican Party filled this void in values in "Middle America".

Despite the obvious bias and cynicism in Prashad's article on Indian Americans and Republicans, I am confident that President Bush will be reelected and that we will take an active role in supporting him as our Commander-in-Chief.

Dr. Raghavendra VijayanagarChairman, Indian American Republican CouncilWashington D.C.

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