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Neerja Modi School (NMS), Jaipur, hosted India’s first-ever inter-school budget debate on 5th February 2021. The aim of this first of its kind debate was to pitch today’s young minds to debate upon India’s Union Budget 2021 and use the power of speech to highlight the pros and cons of the budget from the point of view of the Indian economy. As India strives to bounce back from the economic slump during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Budget 2021 was expected to propose policy changes that would fuel India’s economic growth and push the economy towards a revival. In this spirit, Neerja Modi School took the initiative to host a debate for students of grade-11 from across the country to hone their financial and economic skills in a way that would leave them with the foundation to contribute to India’s future as informed, global citizens.
Owing to the fact that finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that income tax would remain unchanged for the financial year 2021-2022, the agenda of this debate competition was set as ‘THBT the government should have decreased income taxes to stimulate economic growth.’ The overwhelming success of the budget-debate’s first edition oversaw the participation of 12 schools across India: Dhirubhai Ambani International school,
Cathedral and John Connon School,
Vasant Valley School,
Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School,
Rukmani Birla Modern High School
Alwar Public School,
Maheshwari Girls Public School,
Subodh Public School,
Gyan Vihar School,
St. Anslem’s Sr. Secondary,
Neerja Modi School
Throughout the 6 rounds, teams proposed and opposed the motion in stunning fashion, forcing the judges into a dilemma to choose a team that best presented their argument on whether the Indian government should have decreased income tax to stimulate economic growth. While one team argued it would increase disposable income and thus purchasing power which would lead to increased spending, the other convinced the judges that during the pandemic, the government- now more than ever- requires a higher budget to increase public expenditure, which would result in economic growth. With the judges convinced that a reduction in income tax would allow firms to increase investment in factors of production and technology, which would lead to a rise in production and this GDP, the other team swayed the judges to their favour by delivering a cogent argument on why money with the government would make individuals better-off.
After a whole slew of challenging rebuttals, ardent arguments, and participants continuously running out of time, the judges gave their final verdict on Neerja Modi School’s budget-debate 2021. After Mrs. Gunjan Raisinghani, the coordinator of the debate, ushered Sir Gautam Chikermane, who opined that this was one of the best debates he had seen, Mr. Matthew Chazhoor agreed and further elaborated on how this debate assured him that in terms of financial literacy, the future of India is in safe hands. Sir Vijay Vir Singh used his experince of 34 years in the field of academics to give a unique viewpoint on economic growth and development. The day was concluded by an uplifting speech by Neerja Modi School’s principal Mrs. Indu Dubey, who announced the winners: The Cathedral and John Connon School finishing as second runners-up; Vasant Valley School and hosts Neerja Modi School battling out a tie for the runners-up spot; and winners Rukmani Birla Modern High School clinching the title of India’s first-ever Union budget debate.