Thursday, March 23rd, 2023 08:16:25

Oscillating Budget Don’t Insult Aam Aadmi

Updated: March 16, 2013 1:52 pm

Finance Minister P Chidambaram presented the Budget 2013-14 at a very critical juncture when the whole nation is afflicted with abject poverty, inflation, pathetic stories of farmers, and non-running industries. Despite being an agro-based country, India’s economic contribution of agriculture to GDP has significantly declined in the last sixty years, from 42 per cent in 1951 to only 12 per cent in 2011. During the last two decades, agriculture per capita continued to stagnate with one per cent average annual growth. However, I don’t want to go into the details of the figures of other sectors, where our economy blooms or declines. We have published a detailed analysis of the Union Budget this week to know where India is heading for. Who gained and who lost, how much and in which sector, is wide open when one sees today’s growth index. Mr Chidambaram, who presented the budget for the eighth time, said that slowdown in the Indian economy had to be seen in the context of slump in global economy. He also admitted that the country’s present situation and growth was indeed challenging but India had potential growth rate of 8 per cent and getting back to this was possible as had been proven in the past. The FM remarked that the budget now had “higher growth leading to inclusive and sustainable development” with emphasis on women, children, minorities, backward classes and disabled persons. Impetus has also been given to create opportunities for youth for skill development. Health, education, rural, manufacturing, infrastructure and affordable housing have been kept on priority list. Most interesting thing was that a section of politicians and some pseudo-economists were fumbling in 24×7 news channels, where they totally mismatched the real data and figures of Indian economy. One can understand their frustration, as they were the guided missiles of certain political party/lobby. In democracy one is independent of giving one’s opinions. But how can one distort the hard facts and figures? How can one forget to save and respect the dignity and sovereignty of the common man? Yes, our polished leaders and intellectuals are leaving no stone unturned to exploit aam aadmi, minorities, women, backward classes and the downtrodden, who live in remote villages. All are concerned about feeding them, providing them more facilities, free education, subsidies in loans, separate banks, and what not? But honestly, are they really uplifted in the last 65 years or our political classes are simply using them for their personal gains? Of course, India is developing, people are getting rich, more infrastructure is being built, roads are being constructed and more educational institutes are flourishing. But the difference is that there is a huge gap between the haves and have-nots. When farmers are harvesting good produce, there is no space to preserve them or they are not getting the minimum support price. So farmers’ suicide is on the rise every year. Our best brains from the IITs, IIMs, AIIMs are moving out of the country for getting better options as our government is unable to meet their expectations. The primary education and primary health care system in our country are in total disarray. Why am I concerned so much that I am raising this issue at the time of the budget? This is the last budget of the UPA-2 government. People in large and the aam aadmi in particular were expecting justice from this government, but in vain. Time has come the aam aadmi should reciprocate the government, who has held them as a victim of wrong policies, whether it be in the field of economics, agriculture, infrastructure or industry.

I should rather compliment the aam aadmi, who has been suffering and tolerating the bogus governments one after another since Independence. It seems our government has no political will power to take this nation on the pinnacle of glory. When the nation is facing a crisis due to the wrong economic policies of the current government, instead of applying some balm to the wounds of the Indian economy, Mr Chidambaram, very cleverly, crafted a budget with no substance. At least one was expecting Mr Chidambaram to address the growth challenges with structural reforms. How can our nation be more foreign investment oriented, when we should focus more on within to strengthen our economy, and that is the traditional system? On one side, the FM claims of having more focus on infrastructure, but on the other side, the budget cleverly speaks nothing about energy and speaks only on PPP on coal. In food subsidy Rs 10, 000 crore is too little amount. The FM has done schizophrenic policy conclusion, as on one side, it speaks of expenditure reduction and on the other side, it enhances allocation on populist priorities without estimating the quality of expenditure. At least, the FM should have been given more attention to agriculture and rural economy, but nothing has been done on this account. The common man is crying on the road due to the sticky inflation, but Mr Chidambaram has no policy effort in this budget. Still, according to Dr Manmohan Singh: “The Finance Minister has done a commendable job in containing the deficit while simultaneously addressing the growth imperatives. If India succeeds in getting to a growth rate of eight per cent, the winner will be the people of India, especially our youth, who need desperately new productive job opportunities.” As is written in the Gita, I would rather prefer to describe the UPA as immersed in the dark guna of tama, the epitome of human delusive ignorance. Like the restless butterfly, his mind and body are ever in a state of agitation; lacking the intelligence for decisiveness and the will for constructive action, he is passively pulled in one direction and then another by any momentary influence. The UPA is behaving as if it was without humility, rude and insolent towards the aam aadmi at the slightest excuse.

Deepak Kumar Rath

Deepak Kumar Rath

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