Budget as a Development Weapon Every year on the last day of February the Union Budget is presented by the finance minister in the parliament and in this budget the government shows the expenditures and revenue throughout the year. Budget in India has a lot of importance as it decides the fate of the 80% population, which has very limited financial resources or almost none. This year’s budget cannot be called as a budget for the middle class man or the deprived population as it looked to focus more on the elite section of the country. Still it contained a few points which could be considered as development initiating features. The steps present in the Union Budget 2010 for development of the country and its population is: Full interest subsidy for students taking courses in approved institutions. Five lakh students to benefit. Government to address the issue of opening up of retail trade. It will help in bringing down the considerable difference between farm gate, wholesale and retail prices. Modernization of national employment exchanges to be carried out. Allocation for National Rural Health Mission to be raised by Rs 257 crore over. Under National Action Plan on climate change, eight national missions are being launched. For one of the missions, National Ganga Project, Government proposes to increase allocation to Rs 562 crore. National Mission for Female Literacy with emphasis on minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to be launched. Fifty per cent of all rural women to be brought into self-help group programmes. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh corpus to be raised from Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore. NREGA coverage increased from 3.39 crore households in 2007-08 to 4.74 crore households in 2008-09. Allocation for flagship Bharat Nirman progamme is being raised by 45 per cent. Action initiated to provide social security to unorganized sector workers. For Indira Awas Yojana, allocation to be increased by 63 per cent in 2009-10 to touch Rs 8,800 crore. Rs 2,000 crore for rural housing fund under National Housing Bank. An allocation of Rs 39,100 crore to be made for NREGA in 2009-10,an increase of 144 per cent. Work on National Food Security scheme for providing food at cheaper rates to the poor. An expert committee to be set up to advice on viable and sustainable pricing system for imported petroleum products. Subsidy regime for fertilizers to change to nutrient- based rather than price-based. The budget 2010 takes a two pronged approach to addressing the environment and climate change issues in the country. Using a mix of adaption approaches and prevention strategies, the budget allocates funds for environmental cause and also promotes and supports bodies that will make the shift towards an improved surrounding possible. The focus is cleaner energy options. The budget outlay for renewable energy was increased by 61%. The Budget also proposed of setting aside funds for solar and small and micro power projects in Ladakh (J&K). The money for the activities comes from National Clean Energy Fund, which in turn is funded by making the users of dirty fuel (read coal) pay. The cut in fertilizer subsidy would help farmers to buy good fertilizers at cheap rates. Administrative reform through the Fertilizer Bill, coal sector reform, creation of a task force that will look at all laws governing finances, and the creation of a National Social Security Fund. An apex level Financial Stability and Development Council to be set up with a view to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability. Government to provide further capital to strengthen the RRBs so that they have adequate capital base to support increased lending to the rural economy. Rs. 400 crore provided to extend the green revolution to the eastern region of the country comprising Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Eastern UP, West Bengal and Orissa. Government to address the issue of opening up of retail trade. It will help in bringing down the considerable difference between farm gate, wholesale and retail prices. In view of the recent drought in some States and the severe floods in some other parts of the country, the period for repayment of the loan amount by farmers extended by six months from December 31, 2009 to June 30, 2010 under the Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme for Farmers. In addition to the ten mega food park projects already being set up, the Government has decided to set up five more such parks. The spending on social sector has been gradually increased to Rs.1,37,674 crore in 2010- 11, which is 37% of the total plan outlay in 2010-11. Another 25 per cent of the plan allocations are devoted to the development of rural infrastructure. An Annual Health Survey to prepare the District Health Profile of all Districts shall be conducted in 2010-11. Plan allocation to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare increased from Rs 19,534 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 22,300 crore for 2010-11. National Skill Development Corporation has approved three projects worth about Rs 45 crore to create 10 lakh skilled manpower at the rate of one lakh per annum. With huge financial diversities among the population of the country, the budget is a very important and necessary weapon which could bridge this gap. It not only helps in upliftment of the deprived but also sustains growth to maintain a balance throughout the country. This year’s budget may not be equally balanced but it con not be called as a worthless budget. The above points may not drastically change the face of the deprived and financially insecure public but would for sure add a step towards the final aim of complete development.