The Telegraph
Thursday , February 28 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Inclusive growth tips for Chidambaram from college students
- Alternative budget highlights economic disparity in country, focuses on food, shelter and security

A day before Union finance minister P. Chidambaram tables budget in Parliament, city college students on Wednesday suggested him to focus on food, shelter and security.

Presenting an alternative budget, members of the finance club of Cimage College gave tips to the central government on what the citizens expect from it. “The biggest dream of the common man is to own a house. But the cost of land and construction is going up by the day. The government should make a policy to ensure that everyone can have a house by spending only Rs 1 lakh,” said Rakesh, a management student.

He had even come up with a name for the suggested policy — “Nano flats”. The nomenclature is of course inspired by the Tata small car, which was marketed as the dream-come-true for people with low income.

Rakesh was also concerned about healthcare in the state.

“Bihar should have 10 new medical colleges and hospitals. In our state, each medical college serves around 62,74,000 people. In Maharashtra, there is a medical college for every 2,35,000 citizens while in Tamil Nadu, there is one for every 1,40,000 residents,” he added.

Housing and health apart, students were also concerned about education and security.

“Every government school should have access to computers and Internet,” said Shweta, another student.

She also had a financial suggestion about how to implement the upgrade plan. “The government can provide training through public-private partnership mode. This will reduce the burden on the exchequer.”

An important part of education, claimed Shweta, was self-defence training. “There has been a spurt in cases of molestation and rape. All students of government schools should be given martial art training,” she said.

Shweta’s peer Shalini had another suggestion to improve the quality of the education in the state — establishing a “knowledge city”.

“Students will be able to study everything in the knowledge city and there will be no brain drain,” said Shalini.

The event began with the students presenting a picture of economic disparity in the country. In her inaugural speech, Shweta said: “About 37 per cent of the population is below the poverty line. There is a great disparity between the rich and the poor. The government needs to enact policies to sort out these problems.”

Explaining the reason for organising the event, college director Neeraj Agrawal said the institute organised the alternative budget session to help management students learn the basics of financing.