General Budget

The budget for the current fiscal year which the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented on Monday (6th July), as usual has received mixed reactions. On one hand the governing body in which Congress was leading termed it as an excellent budget whereas the opposition on the other hand expressed despair. The biggest opposition party Bhartiya Janata Party says that this budget has not given any direction to the country’s economy. Where the congress men have termed it as ’common man’s budget’ the opposition says that they have done nothing special for the common man. The ruling party says that they have announced relief for the farmers whereas the opposition feels that no strong steps have been taken to console the agricultural class. At the same time some other states have the complaint that they are being neglected and the budget is under the canopy of politics. It is being told that the favours announced for the farmers will benefit only big farmers, there is nothing for the common and small farmers because only those farmers can benefit from these favours who have at least two hectares of land. On one hand it is being said that the relaxation given to the tax payers will be quite beneficial for the common man but many people also say that now a days discount of ten thousand rupees is meaningless. One group feels that the ideas presented for the removal for poverty are quite important and the relief plans which are announced are also important while others feel that no doubt relief plans have been announced for the poor but relief plans have also been announced for the rich and hence the gap between the rich and the poor instead of becoming less will remain as it is.

Those people in the country who wished to see an increase in privatisation at a rapid rate even they feel that this budget is not promising enough because the supporters of privatisation felt that new sectors will be opened up for privatisation and some new schemes for rapid privatisation will come up. But no such announcement was made in this budget rather it is said that Government banks and insurance companies will not be privatised. No announcements were made regarding education and safeguarding of health although a lot of importance is being given to education and health in developed countries and this is necessary to keep the country moving on the path of development. One main and important aspect of this budget is the increase in the fiscal loss. Global slump in the market had it’s effect on all the economies of the world naturally how could India remain untouched by it. But all the economies made some or the other efforts in order to face it. India’s fiscal loss shown in this budget is 6.8%. How will this loss be regained and what will be the way to do it? Experts say that the budget is mum on this matter and this is a matter of concern. Naturally this loss will be regained by taking loans which in turn will increase national loans and increased dependence and we have to work according to the conditions set by the loan giver. This will not only hamper economic development it might also cause a blow to the interests of the country. Many experts have raised this issue and tried to draw the Government’s attention towards it. It is clear that a debate will take place on it and the plans in the budget will be considered at all levels. It is expected that the Government pays heed to the opinions which come up in this regard.

10/07/09 Editorial, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Asma Anjum Siddiqui

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