More on Budget

Budget making is a tricky business. Union Budget is actually the Annual Statement of the estimated receipts and expenditures of the central government for a financial year that runs from April 1 to March 31. Budget is presented in such a way that it looks pro-people but in reality, it is for the Rich. This republic is for the 'republicans' who are basically enjoying the fruits of democracy.

This government neglected the poorest in the past. That they won't behave differentily this time is a fact of life. Majority of the population has to die without a job and food. It would be tactically right to the political parties to mislead them bacuase their values are confined with their votes. This budget (2020) has no exception. The budget 2020 reminds that the government is for the rich and corporate. Tax deduction in all respects indicates that the government is buttering a well to do section. How they would enjoy a handsome life the government is more concerned about this. What would be the situation of the poorest that does not matter? There is no proposal for educated unemployed youth which is the most challenging issue in the future. Youth would be more aggressive and unrest as well as violence would be regular event. Would the government be then be more brutal than what is now.

Today, economic difference/income inequality is the most challenging issue in India rather than social and cultural differences and disparities. It prioritises due to the disparate efforts of the democratic government of India for enhancement of rich, super rich and corporate. 'So how unequal is India?' The economist Branko Milanovic says, "the question is simple, the answer is not". The government has no such initiative to repair this fractured condition. During the last few years, the government has taken initiatives for strengthening the corporate. Firstly, lack of initiative for promotion of inclusive growth by encouraging intensive sectors to create more jobs. Secondly, it reduces tax on the super-rich, while it should impose higher tax. Thirdly, government has no erroft to scaling the "leaking wealth bucket".

Consequently, the gap between rich and poor is widening. Referring to a report of Oxfam India, "India's richest 1% held 58% of the country's total wealth, which was higher than the global figure of the above 50%". It also reported, "the wealth of this elite group increased by over Rs 20.9 lakh crore. India's top 1% of the population now holds 73% of the wealth while 67 crore citizens, comprising the country's poorest half, saw their wealth rise by just 1%". It was rightly remarked, "the billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure and working in factories are struggling to fund their child's education, buy medicines for family members and manage two meals a day. The growing divide undermines democracy and promotes corruption and cronyism".

Surprisingly, there is no word of industrialisation in the Budget proposal while privatisation of public sectors and public sector undertaking. Would agriculture be improved through the initiative of 'Kishan Rail'? This budget has no step to save the interests of farmers as it is required currently to stop farmer suicides. So, it might be a budget for Modi's development, but it is not for progress of India. The other India will continue to languish in abysmal poverty and helplessness.

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Vol. 52, No. 33, Feb 16 - 22, 2020