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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

oh what a weekend it was .

im back... after a 4 day break. Had gone to Kolkata Friday to Monday and it was real fun. My sister and her daughter, my mother and her mother were there and it was feeding frenzy time. Happy times spent with my niece and lots of good food. Totally stress busting time.

its been a happening week. In Kolkata we went for lunch to Taj Bengal and my day was made when I realised that the cute thing loading her plate next to me was Katrina Kaif. An old buddy was in Kol too, ex sailor, attending the marriage of a college friend. So just a few miles from my home, there was a non-stop wedding party happening with lots of drunken current and ex-sailors managing to relive the old times. I too dipped my beak in the trough when I could.

This week saw the railway budget being introduced, the Indian Budget exercise being handled with aplomb by Chidu bhai and the invasion of the Bushmen. Small cars are cheaper now, rail tickets can be obtained on the internet and Manmohan Singh has to figure out whether to listen to the Indian scientific community or to the White Chief.

Delhi is going through a sudden cold spell, winter clothing that had been packed and put away in mothballs had to be retrieved. The sun shines bright, the air is chilly and springtime is here.

The Budget always highlights how precarious our position is. The non plan expenditure is twice the planned expenditure. This means that existing payment commitments by the government are so huge that there is very little left for new schemes. There does seem to be a quiet plan underway, where in no earthshaking changes will be announced, but focus will be on making the system work better and smarter. Again Defence expenditure is a black hole, huge amounts of our money just goes behind the cantonment walls and does god knows what there. This is a monster we are creating and it will have to be checked soon. Soon a stage will come where we will have created a parallel structure which has developed a taste for huge amounts of money. It is always pointed out that the indian army never has been politically active, but I think we are tempting fate here. This monster will grow on what it feeds on. It becomes an instrument of state power domestically and it resists all attempts to moderate its diet. It will soon be like riding a tiger. The record of the army in dealing with far flung areas and defenseless disenfranchised people is not too good. This government is very clever in balancing books, but hard social, political, strategic, geopolitical and ethical issues seem to give it a headache. Lets see how far the mantra - "Its the economy, stupid " works.

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