Indians balk at $33 million statue in new budget - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Indians balk at $33 million statue in new budget

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Manish Swarup). An Indian worker carries a sack containing copies of the 2014-15 union budget at the Indian parliament in New Delhi, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup). An Indian worker carries a sack containing copies of the 2014-15 union budget at the Indian parliament in New Delhi, Thursday, July 10, 2014.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Slow North Dakota city fire alert raises concern

    Slow North Dakota city fire alert raises concern

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:23 AM EDT2014-07-24 12:23:59 GMT
    A more efficient system must be established to alert residents of danger in North Dakota's booming oil patch, an emergency manager and residents said, after authorities failed to alert the public for more than...
    A more efficient system must be established to alert residents of danger in North Dakota's booming oil patch, an emergency manager and residents said, after authorities failed to alert the public for more than six...
  • Suspected Nazi guard's death a blow to prosecutors

    Suspected Nazi guard's death a blow to prosecutors

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:53 AM EDT2014-07-24 11:53:04 GMT
    German efforts to prosecute aging war criminals suffered a setback this week with the death of a retired Philadelphia toolmaker who had long been in the crosshairs of Nazi hunters.
    German efforts to prosecute aging war criminals suffered a setback this week with the death of a retired Philadelphia toolmaker who had long been in the crosshairs of Nazi hunters.
  • Family: Teen pilot who crashed in ocean knew risks

    Family: Teen pilot who crashed in ocean knew risks

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:52 AM EDT2014-07-24 11:52:23 GMT
    The family of an Indiana teenager who crashed in the Pacific Ocean during an around-the-world flight says he knew the risks and had prepared for them.
    Haris Suleman knew that flying around the world carried risks. But like adventurers before him, the 17-year-old pilot from Indiana also believed dreams aren't achieved without taking chances.
By MUNEEZA NAQVI
Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) - In a country grappling with poverty, sluggish growth and a daunting deficit, India's new budget has set aside 2 billion rupees ($33 million) for a colossal iron-and-bronze statue almost twice the size of the Statue of Liberty.

The plans in Thursday's budget for a 182-meter (nearly 600 feet)-tall replica of Indian independence leader Vallabhbhai Patel caused an outcry, with many people saying the country has far more urgent priorities.

"How can they waste money on statue like that?" asked Rohtash, a vegetable vendor in the Indian capital who goes by one name. "The government could have used that money to reduce the price of rice. That would have been some help for poor people like us."

It was the first budget of a new government elected on promises to revive stalled economic growth.

Others lamented how the budget earmarks more money for the Patel statue than for women's safety nationwide, which got 1.5 billion rupees ($25 million), or the education of young girls at 1 billion rupees ($16.5 million).

The move was criticized strongly on social media, with one sarcastic Twitter user saying: "Truly #budget2014 has something for everyone, even Sardar Patel." The move was rated "most disliked" on the website of NDTV news channel, and the Times of India newspaper started a Twitter poll asking if the statue is a "wasteful expenditure."

The statue, which Indian officials say will be the tallest in the world, will stand on an island in the Narmada River in western Gujarat state, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister for more than a decade. The project was originally meant to be financed by the local government and donations of iron and cash from across the country.

Critics of Modi say the decision to lavish federal funds on the project is a political ploy to upset his foes in the rival Congress party.

Patel was one of the most important members of the Congress party, which dominated Indian politics for almost 60 years after the country won its independence from British rule.

Modi, who belongs to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, humiliated Congress when he came to power in May in the most decisive election victory India has seen in three decades. And now, his critics say, he's trying to appropriate one of the Congress' most revered independence-era icons.

___

Chonchui Ngashangva in New Delhi contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali

    France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:12 AM EDT2014-07-24 13:12:02 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali after heavy rains were reported, according to the plane's owner and...
  • Iraq: Kurdish politician Massoum named president

    Iraq: Kurdish politician Massoum named president

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:04 AM EDT2014-07-24 13:04:51 GMT
    Iraqi officials say militants have attacked a prisoner convoy north of Baghdad, killing 52 prisoners and eight soldiers.
    Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum was named Iraq's new president on Thursday hours after an attack on a prison convoy killed dozens of people, brutally underscoring the challenges faced by the country's leaders as...
  • Taiwan airline suspects bad weather caused crash

    Taiwan airline suspects bad weather caused crash

    Thursday, July 24 2014 8:52 AM EDT2014-07-24 12:52:27 GMT
    Stormy weather on the trailing edge of Typhoon Matmo was the likely cause of a plane crash on a Taiwanese island that killed 48 people, the airline said Thursday.
    Stormy weather trailing behind a typhoon was the likely cause of a plane crash on a Taiwanese island that killed 48 people on board and injured 10 on the plane and five on the ground, the airline said Thursday.