"Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put politics before economics in his government's last full budget before the next parliamentary election due in 2019.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday threw the government's laudable five-year record for fiscal prudence to the winds and promised a slew of partly funded or unfunded promises to the Indian electorate capped by a national healthcare scheme touted as the world's largest.
Given the confidence that Modi likes to exude, and the absolute majority enjoyed by his ruling BJP party, it is a bit of a surprise to see the government be driven to such an extent to appease voters with the public purse.
The fact that the government did so, perhaps suggests that the prime minister is not quite so sure of victory in next year's polls as he tries to suggest. A government blessed with low oil prices for most of its five years in power -- a key consideration in oil-importing India -- should have been in a position to deliver more in terms of sound economic management."
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