The Poor Who Vote

In 1997, Palaniappan Chidambaram wrote a budget of which middle-class Indians still wistfully dream. It slashed income and corporate taxes, encouraged foreign investment, and drove up the stock market. Last week, ChidambaramMinister of Finance once againgave India another budget. But this time, the people most likely to call it a dream are a group of Indians who usually have little reason to celebrate: the poor.

In no Asian country is the need to address poverty so pressing as in India. Despite seeing robust economic growth since reforms were first introduced in the early 1990s (when the pictures...

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