Favouritisms in the 2006-2007 Indian budget 

Goodies for allied states or states where the finance minister or the prime minister comes from, while states not allied with the central government are neglected and punished. 

Lowlights of favouritism in the 2006-07 budget:

  • IISERs in Pune, Kolkata and Punjab (states ruled by the UPA allies) 
  • Paddy processing research center in Tamil Nadu (The Finance minister's home state)
  • Central university designation to renamed Port management of Chennai.  (In the Finance minister's home state)
  • 50 crore + 50 crore later each to University of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. (Mumbai and Kolkata are in states ruled by the UPA allies; Chennai is in the finance minister's home state.)
  • 100 crores to Punjab Agricultural University. (A UPA ruled state.)
  • Central Institute of Technology, Kokrajhar, Assam. (This is part of a deal made in 2003 with the Bodo Tribal Council. However, the Prime minister is a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam. Couldn't he also establish similar institutes in other troubled spots in India, such as in KBK.)

In our analysis of the 2005-2006 budget we  showed that while the central government of India spent (in 2005-06) Rs 4.07 on higher education institutions (HRD-NH or HRD National highways) per person in Orissa, it spent Rs 177.12 in Delhi,  Rs 28.10 in West Bengal, Rs 25.12 in Karnataka, Rs 17.79 in Tamil Nadu, Rs 17.09 in Maharastra, Rs 17.08 in UP,  Rs 16.05 in Andhra, Rs 13.38 in Punjab, Rs 8.52 in Haryana, Rs 7.9 in Kerala, Rs 7.2 in MP, Rs 4.87 in Gujurat,  Rs 2.59 in Rajasthan, and Rs 1.87 in Bihar.

Comparing in another way, the Government of India's spending per person with respect to HRD-NHs, in comparison to Orissa, is 43.52 times in Delhi, 6.9 times in West Bengal, 6.17 times in Karnataka, 4.37 times in Tamil Nadu, 4.2 times in UP, 4.2 times in Maharashtra, 3.94 times in AP, 3.29 times in Punjab, 2.09 times in Haryana, 1.94
times in Kerala,  1.77 times in MP, and 1.2 times in Gujarat.

We wrote to various people including the prime minister, Smt. Sonia Gandhi and the planning commission about it. But the 2006-07 budget with respect to the HRD-NH instead of addressing the inequity has made the inequity worse. Moreover, it shows the current government has made new allocations to states whose government is allied with them,  states where the finance minister  is from (Tamil Nadu) or the PM is elected from (Assam). This could be a coincidence; but it really puts a question mark on what kind of democracy India is. It begs questions such as: Do India's prime minister and finance minister see themselves as serving the country (all parts of it) or as fiefs who can allocate resources to the states they come from or their allies come from? We will enumerate the places new HRD investments have been allocated in the 2006 budget or have been announced and you be the judge.

1. Three new Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) are proposed in Pune, Kolkata, and near Chandigarh in Punjab. These are all in states that are ruled by parties allied to the central government. IISER Pune and Kolkata have a budget of 50 crores now and IISER Punjab will have a similar budget. (IISERs are basically renamed National institute of Sciences that the earlier government proposed to have in Bhubaneswar, Pune, Allahbad and Chennai. Bhubaneswar is  in Orissa, which does not have any premier higher education institution, and is currently ruled by the opposition NDA. Allahbad has an IIIT, and Chennai has an IIT.)

2. Paddy Processing Research Centre at Thanjavur will be developed into a national-level institute. (Thanjavur is in Tamil Nadu, the Finance minister's home state.)

3. The existing National Institute of Port Management, Chennai, has been renamed as the National Maritime Academy, and it is proposed to upgrade it into a Central University under an Act of Parliament. The University will have regional campuses at Mumbai, Kolkata and
Visakhapatnam. (Chennai is in the finance minister's home state. Mumbai, Kolkata and Vijag are all in states ruled by parties allied to the central government.)

4. 50 crores each now and 50 crores at the end of the year to University of Calcutta, the University of Mumbai and the University of Madras. (The first two are in states allied to the central government and the third is the state from where the finance minister hails.)

5. Rs.100 crore for an institution of excellence to a distinguished institution, the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. (Punjab government is allied to the central government. The prime minister grew up in Punjab. )

6. Accord the status of an autonomous National Institute to the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala. (Kerala has a Congress government, and is up for election.)

7. Central Institute of Technology, Kokrajhar, Assam. (Has a
congress government, up for election, and the prime minister's Rajya Sabha constituency. (However, this is part of a deal made in 2003 with the Bodo Tribal Council.  Couldn't the government also establish similar institutes in other troubled spots in India, such as in KBK.)

Besides the above, two other proposals are made which do not have the above mentioned ties.

A. A Central Institute of Horticulture will be established in
Nagaland. (It is ruled by an NDA allied party.)

B. During 2006-07, Ministry of Tourism will establish 4 new
institutes of hotel management in the States of Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal. (These are technical institutes rather than higher educational institutes, and have a much smaller budget.)

Based on the above and other details buried in the 2006-2007 budget: while the central government is scheduled to spend Rs 4.07 on HRD-NH (HRD ministry funded higher education institutions plus instituitions of national importance) per person in Orissa, it will spend Rs 183.08 in Delhi, Rs 41.20* in West Bengal (up from Rs 28.1), Rs 33.4 in Karnataka (up from 25.125), Rs 27 in Tamil Nadu (up from Rs 17.79), Rs 28.38 in Maharastra (up from 17.1), Rs 17.73 in UP, Rs 16.05 in Andhra, Rs 33.27 in Punjab, Rs 8.13 in Haryana, Rs 7.90 in Kerala, Rs 9.02 in MP, Rs 4.87 in Gujurat, Rs 2.59 in Rajasthan, and Rs 1.87 in Bihar.

[*If one only considers MHRD funded institutions then the above numbers remain unchanged except the number for West Bengal comes down to Rs 34.54.]

In other words the Government of India's spending (in 2006-07) per person with respect to HRD-NHs, in comparison to Orissa, is 44.95 times in Delhi,  10.11 times in West Bengal (up from 6.9), 8.20 times in Karnataka (up from 6.17), 6.63 times in Tamil Nadu (up from 4.37), 4.35 times in UP, 6.97 times in Maharashtra (up from 4.2), 3.94 times in AP, 17.93 times in Punjab (up from 3.27), 2.11 times in Haryana, 1.94 times in Kerala,  2.21 times in MP, and 1.2 times in Gujurat.

We are really shocked by this allocation which worsens the inequity and illustrates favoritism as the principle behind the budget.

We understand that the states allied to the central government and the home states of the PM and Finance minister are also part of India. So the central government is right to invest in them and we are happy for those states. What we would like to point out is that the central government did not invest anything in the states that are in the bottom of the HRD list, such as Orissa, Rajasthan and Bihar. This is despite the fact that thousands of Orissans wrote to the Prime minister and Smt. Gandhi about this. The worst part is that the earlier government after having noticed this inequity had announced (though the HRD minister, the president, the UGC chair) the establishment of a National Institute of Sciences in Bhubaneswar and this government for inexplicable reasons (or perhaps to punish Orissa for not voting for it and rewarding the others states) has decided to rename it (to IISER) and establish in three other states, which already were in the top among the Indian states with respect to HRD funding.

We also understand that as parliamentarians the Oxford educated PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the Harvard educated finance minister Mr. P. Chadambaram have every right to look after their constituencies and develop them. They must do that. For that they should use their MPLAD funds. The Indian budget is the budget of all of India not the fief of PM, the FM or the subset of states that are allied to the government.

We would sincerely request the reader to bring this to the notice of media outlets of India. Perhaps their exposure of this shameless behavior of our most learned ministers will change the way budgets are done in our country and perhaps we will move towards a more equitable country with all parts shining together. 

Chitta Baral 3/24/06 

(ps: Recently, the central government finally decided to honor the earlier government's commitment to establish 6 new AIIMS-like institutions in the backward states of Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh,  Rajasthan and Uttaracnchal. However the allocated budget for these institutions in the 2006-07 budget is miniscule. It remains to be seen if the announcement was a lip service or the budget is going to be increased to really start these institutions.)