Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley does not address any concern relating to the economic growth nor takes any step to ameliorate the deteriorating conditions of the people. It does not address the questions of peasant distress, industrial stagnation or the rising economic burden on the common people.
The Budget exercise of Indian Govt. has lost much of its importance due to year round increase in taxes and levies as also jugglery of figures. Incomes are inflated to balance the figures and expenditures are announced to hear plaudits from apologist commentators. However the money is not spent and thus people are fooled without any exertion on the part of the Govt. Govt. makes big announcements to hide continuing slowdown of economic growth, the announcements which are never implemented. Schemes are renamed (after Sangh icons), regrouped under different head to show increased allocation and tricks of the kind are galore in Jaitley’s Budget. Appropriate noises are made of care for the peasants and common person but all the benefits accrue to less than 0.1 percent of the super rich. Homilies are paid to the poor with loud mouth but the fine print discloses the real bonanza for the super rich.
The direction discernible from the Budget is that NDA Govt. is continuing its thrust on privatization of all spheres of the economic life and entry of foreign companies is facilitated into ever newer sectors. 100 percent FDI is permitted in food processing increasing stranglehold of foreign capital over the agrarian sector.
A lot of noise is made of caring for agriculture and peasantry. But no steps are announced for the benefit of peasants. As always more money is marked for credit for the already heavily indebted peasantry. No steps have been announced for bringing down high prices of agricultural inputs nor any steps announced or money marked for procurement of agricultural produce at remunerative prices. While higher outlay is announced for irrigation, but given the abysmal condition of the irrigation system, the money will be squandered between officials and ruling politicians. Allocation for MNAREGA at Rs. 38,000 crores is abysmally low to provide any meaningful relief for the rural unemployed poor. The Scheme is marked by extremely low wages and extremely high corruption. Govt. has announced further electrification with highly irregular power supply of unstable voltage. The core issues of the peasantry have largely been unaddressed in the Budget.
While Govt. has neglected rural development, it has announced to increase outlay for panchayats and local bodies. With rampant corruption seeping through these bodies in which local officials and ‘elected’ representatives partake, it is a measure to increase the penetration of ruling classes in the rural areas and bringing up its new agents thriving on corruption in schemes.
Having earned anti-dalit image due to its policies and more so recently through institutional murder of dalit youth Rohith Vemula by two Union Ministers, Modi Govt. has made much of its attempts to promote dalit welfare. It has marked abysmal amount of 500 crores for dalit entrepreneurs while ignoring the most basic issues of dalit welfare i.e. land