As always , in the run up to Budget 2002-2003, there was much speculation about what the budget would or would not contain, and what finance minister Yashwant Sinha might or might not say in his speech. February 28 has come and gone, and the speculation is over. Budget pundits are now busy dissecting the budget for the benefit of the few that are not engrossed in cricket, politics, religion or the gruesome carnage in Gujarat.
No matter what Sinha might have said, there were some things he certainly did not say in his speech. These include bold measures for greening the budget, and changing the manner in which environmental policy is made in the country. What follows is wishful thinking about what one would have liked to hear Sinha saying on February 28:
“101. Honourable members, I now turn to an important issue, namely, that of environmental degradation. As this august House is well aware, the severity and magnitude of environmental problems in our country has brought us to a point where the cost of environmental degradation every year is almost as large as the rate of growth of the economy. In other words, environmental problems threaten the very sustainability of our economic development. It is imperative that we move beyond tokenism and tinkering with the tax code to a paradigm shift in tackling our environmental problems