28 Feb 2013

Pre-election budget awaited in India

2:07 pm on 28 February 2013

The government of India is to hand down its 2013 budget on Thursday. It will be the last budget before general elections next year.

With provincial elections happening this year, the government is facing its toughest challenge yet to win over the electorate.

A Radio Australia correspondent said many are wondering if the budget will be populist or reformist and expectations are high among all classes.

The economy is forecast to grow at 5%, the slowest in a decade.

However, multiple scams, economic stagnation and defeats in a series of elections ranging from municipal contests to state assemblies, underline the government's dilemma.

Currently nearly 71 bills need to be tackled in 34 sittings, including land acquisition, pension, insurance and university bills.

Also a welfare bill that aims to providing subsidized food to 75% of the rural population and 50% of urban dwellers

Radio Australia's correspondent said the budget is perhaps Prime Minister Singh's last opportunity to stamp his authority and target the real issues of the economy.