Jaitley Budget gets a touch of Modi Model, dreams of ‘rurban’ growth

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s maiden budget clearly drew inspiration from Gujarat.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Published: July 11, 2014 3:44:08 am
FM Arun Jaitley today proposed raising the FDI cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in insurance sector. (Reuters) Jaitley said in his speech, “Gujarat has demonstrated successfully the Rurban development model of urbanisation of the rural areas”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s first budget saw chunks of copy-pasted schemes from the Gujarat budgets under him as chief minister, like the round-the-clock power supply, riverfront project, Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana for tribals, smart cities, solar power generation along canals, “rurbanisation” and even launching of  theme-based tourist circuits.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s maiden budget clearly drew inspiration from Gujarat, the state he represents as Rajya Sabha MP. Jaitley said in his speech, “Gujarat has demonstrated successfully the Rurban development model of urbanisation of the rural areas, through which people living in the rural areas can get efficient civic infrastructure and associate services. Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission will be launched to deliver integrated project based infrastructure in the rural areas, which will also include development of economic activities and skill development.” Through the Rurban model, Gujarat has identified over 200-odd villages where it is already giving “urban facilities” in rural areas.

So Jyotigram project launched by Modi in Gujarat in 2003 became Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti yojana in the Union budget 2014-15 and the “beti bachao, beti vadhavo (save the girl child, welcome the girl child)” introduced in Gujarat after the 2001 census showed a sex ratio skewed against girls merged with the Kanya Kelavni campaign, got bigger and is called, “Beti bachao, beti padhao” in its India version. And the Statue of Unity project to build the world’s tallest statue as a memorial to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, is now a national project with Rs 200 crore Central allocation.

“Most of the successful projects in Gujarat have found a reflection in the Union budget. Be it Beti Bachao, Jyotigram Yojana, Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana, etc. Most of these projects were part of the Gujarat model that has been widely popularised,” said Arun Kumar Jagatramka, CMD of Gujarat NRE Coke Ltd on the sidelines of a budget viewing session organised by the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) here.

Another popular scheme for providing 24×7 uninterrupted power supply – Jyotigram Yojana – gets a national platform through the Union budget. Christened as Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, with an allocation of Rs 500 crore, the programme calls “for feeder separation” to augment power supply to the rural areas and for strengthening sub-transmission and distribution systems. “This yojana at a national scale will turn out to be a power saver for the NDA government,” said Vimal Ambani, Managing Director, Tower Overseas Ltd.

Similar is the “Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana” where Rs 100 crore has been allocated for welfare of tribals. The NDA government also launched the Rs 100-crore Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana for generating awareness and also help in improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.

The soil-health cards and soil-testing laboratories popularised by the Gujarat government through annual Krishi Mahotsav also finds a mention in Jaitley’s budget who set aside Rs 100 crore for the card and an additional Rs 56 crore to set up 100 mobile soil-testing laboratories across the country. R Mukundan, Managing Director, Tata Chemicals Ltd, welcomed the move to replicate the soil-health card, in his reaction to the budget.

Another concept that has links with Gujarat, is the smart city project. The Union budget has allocated a sum of Rs 7,070 crore for development of smart cities in India. The GIFT City project in Gandhinagar and the Dholera project in Ahmedabad district are likely to benefit, say industrialists in the state. “We can see the effect of Gujarat Model in this budget wherein in the lines of Gujarat certain schemes have been announced…these are all highly welcome,” said Piruz Khambatta, Chairman, Rasna Pvt Ltd.

The NDA government has also taken the Gujarat’s Sabarmati Riverfront project to Delhi and chosen Kedarnath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna and Delhi for “Ghat development and beautification of river front”.

“A number of incentives in the Union budget has been directed at Gujarat. Be it the Rs 25-crore investment allowance for new plant and machinery or the provision for start-up entrepreneurs, Gujaratis stand to benefit. The budget also provides incentives for a number of sectors in Gujarat including textiles, infrastructure, chemicals, solar power and the Alang ship-breaking yard,” said Yogesh Shah, Partner, Deloitte Haskins & Sells.

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