Harpreet Singh

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Budget (2011-2012)


Yesterday, when I woke up at around 9 AM, the very first thing which made me curious and on my toes is the torn- pieces of Indian map scattered around my blanket. “How it happens”? I think for a moment but then I came to know that somehow it became victim of a naughty yet ignorant chap from my neighborhood. I didn’t worry for that map because I bought it for just 20 rupees and I like kids, may be this might be the reason that why I was not too much angry But what makes me worried is the newspaper when I saw the budget of present year. I am weak in economics and it was a great trouble for me to analyze and understand the ‘common target’ of our budget. Why Sonia Gandhi couldn’t afford to give a welcome speech on the television if she really wants something good for so called ‘Aam-aadmi’ in the budget, which is and should be the target of every ruling government. Eventually, it is not possible but In fact every policy’s reflection can easily be seen on the face of every common man. Probably, We can’t expect Sonia Gandhi or ManMohan Singh to give the definition of ’Fiscal deficit’ or ‘GDP’ in front of 65 percent illiterate people. Nobody is yearning for that except the owners of imports, exports, SEZs, industries and none other than politicians or bureaucrats who bare handedly took over the charge to fulfill the needs of their ‘Khaas’ men who are none other than industrialists or businessmen. The weaknesses of PPP are well known to all educated business men. The language which newspapers use is not favorable for a common layman but one who is preparing for civil services may show a keen interest in it to get good marks by good understanding of a good budgetary process. We want NDA government to prepare a moral budget for morally weak sections and it should be the first priority. The clear definition of ‘morally weak section’ is not easy to establish because these sections can be with or without any privileges. The opposition parties are criticizing the budget for not including any benefits for unemployment and inflation but they can not deny the fact that budget of 2011 is prepared midst of high challenging situations of corruption, scams and Inflationary breakdown. It is not completely dubious yet it is not satisfactory for a common na├»ve person who always acts more like an amateur in the game of national budget. The torn pieces of my map can be uncountable but we can easily count the torn pieces of Indian budgetary- politics which is more or less favorable for ‘Khaas’ and not ‘Aam- aadmi’. We need to see the budget from a common man’s view because a common person like me is always seen lost in the vague perceptions regarding the government and budgetary process. It is understanding and not innovation which can escalate the flow of more funds towards the empty pockets of an ever desiring layman. It is true that “we don’t need more government, we need better government” – the sole dedicated slogan of modern management science. Let’s take a lap from these ideal talks and ponder about the hard material of how an Indian mind responds after reading the budget speech...

It would be better now If we don’ think about negative side of India- scams and huge monetary losses. Unwillingly we should now aggregate our thoughts to understand the budget but this understanding is helpful; thank god! You give us something except ignorance! Luckily, Finance minister tried to curb the inflation by new initiatives and investments to increase the supply of specific food items such as edible oil, vegetables, pulses and milk. I can easily guess that more than half of the elite and educated classes don’t like milk products and oil too much. In a recent survey, it is being said that milk products are the worst cause of causing cancer and countries having less milk consumption has a low malignancy rate. But to some extent , I think, the measures taken by honorable finance minister would be in favor of ‘khaas-aadmi’ because poor and middle class will take away all the cholesterol- rich milk and hence saves the ‘khaas’ from cancer and heart diseases. Vegetables and pulses prices are expected to come down. It is surely good news because At least Indian government midst of all the scams and opposition pressures pulled India out of the blues of global recession last year and it is a fact that we are now among the fastest growing economies of the world. Ministry of commerce has projected a growth rate of nine percent for this fiscal (2011-2012). The concessions in personal income tax will give a sigh of relief to the common man for sure but it is not up to the expectations because this is the point where ‘Aam- aadmi’ always shows his rage towards government. As the exact measure of annual income is intricate we cannot reach at a particular comfortable point where we can say that the tax incentive is good enough because the expectations of common man are always high and will always be. It is a fact that the common man today is now facing a lot in the name of social, economical and family responsibilities. Most of the youngsters are unemployed and are shamelessly relying on their parents for pocket- money. Well! Shouldn’t it be put in the tax coverage- the unprecedented extravagance of money by ‘unskilled youths’? For sure, it is a silly idea because common youth is even unaware of common budget and how can we put burden on ignorant Indians. The exemption limit raised for senior citizens from 2.4 lakh to 2.5 lakh is welcomed. Now I am happy that at least our ever- shaky government do something to foster the honor of shaky condition of older Indians. Current surcharge of 7.5 percent is reduced to 5 percent for domestic companies coupled with a customs and excise duty concessions for specific sectors. It definitely gives a boost to the internal industrial sector and indirectly increases employment opportunities in much of the industrial cities of India. Good news for slum dwellers and industrial workers but who cares about their salary structure then, which must be increased with this small liberalization. Company owners may be ‘Khaas’ to the aam politicians but is there any khaas scheme for common person working in the companies’ hierarchies- the managers, clerks, supervisors, technicians, workers, laborers who has equal right to wear branded clothes and enjoy their lives with handsome salaries. Government is also on the way to implement DTAT ( Double taxation avoidance treaty) with countries having illegal ‘Benaami’ accounts, carrying a wealth equal to the whole national income of our country. It is a good initiative but we expect transparency and a sound strategy to reveal the names of those unscrupulous account holders. Union government is also scrutinizing the state funding agencies providing funds during the elections to the parties. Business class gets the maximum benefit from the present budget due to the introduction of an integrated Goods and services tax and new direct tax code. Central excise duty is to be maintained at standard 10 percent which is pretty good for business men who are the drivers of economy and take active part in the production of agriculture and other consumer goods and services. The service tax net has been widened and high-end medical and legal services become more expensive but it hardly matters because some ‘khaas- men’ can easily afford it due to strong ‘jaan-pehchaan’ but it puts pressure on common man who strives for making his ‘jaan-pehchaan’ but all in vain. He is left with only long pending bills of hospitals and lawyers.

The government has provided significantly large share of Rs.1,60,887 crore, which is 17 percent more than the previous share for Education, Health, women, and children, affordable housing, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and minorities. You can easily count the number of torn and shredded parts of India, these are some parts. It makes difficult for budget makers to measure values through social and economical needs of these so called ‘less empowered’ group- Women, children, Scs, STs and minorities. But there is an error in the judgment of government about the empowerment of ‘less-empowered’ group, Government lacks understanding, the roots are hollow- The panchayati raj system proving itself to be a big failure in spite of a few positive cases in the southern part of India. The one foremost need is to spend wisely on the ‘self-actualization’ and self- esteem’ of the ‘less empowered’ persons by giving them direct benefits in the hands, door- to- door deliveries of privileges and sharing of experiences. “Funds are not funds, when they are in the pockets. Funds become funds when they are in the hands of the needy”. This doesn’t need any innovation but a sheer understanding. It’s simple yet too hard to commence. Education must be given at affordable prices and equally to all the strata of society without tearing the students into different categories and classes. ‘We can allure the poor by midday meal but prolific education is more associated with mind than stomach’. Here is an example in which Mr. Mukherjee has announced to replace the present system of kerosene, LPG and fertilizer subsidies by direct transfers of cash subsidies to BPL people. It is a laudable initiative and it is introduced on the line of Latin America which is practicing the same plan and it makes them successful in eliminating leakages and ensures the full amount of subsidies in the hands of people. We should try it, if it will be a success in India, it can be used to distribute other funds directly to the people. We can not completely held the government responsible for flaws in the budget because it is not an easy task to render essential goods and services to the ‘Aam- Aadmi’

The budget 2011-2012 brings with itself sad news for SEZs and its units having core IT sectors. Now they will have to give 20 percent of their income as MAT. The overall fiscal deficit is projected to come down from 5.1 per cent of the GDP in the current year to 4.6 per cent in 2011-2012 and the revenue deficit is expected to come down from 2.3 per cent of the GDP to 1.8 per cent. The crude oil prices has gone up in the recent weeks and it left the government with three choices- first, to increase the retail prices of petrol and diesel; secondly, to reduce the duties on petroleum products; lastly, to subsidies the under-recoveries of the oil marketing companies. It, surely, is not good news for young guys who like to spend more fuel on driving. Buses-fares would go-up significantly, People would prefer diesel cars than petrol, Transport charges would increase. This is what a common man is worrying about; it is for large business men who are enjoying some huge benefits in the name of Imports, exports, subsidies and international trade. I was trying to figure out the intricacies behind every aspect of budget because it is necessary, a good understanding is necessary for all of us. We are the consumers. But it is not fair to consider every one as consumer because we are producers also, we make the education, we make our children better by giving them our services, we give our services to the nation in the form of teachers, doctors, engineers, business men and workers. The source may be different but the target is same- Personal development. So, the government should respect at least these personal desires of common man. “Every body wants good budget but not everybody can easily talk about the good aspects of a wrong budget”. This is called understanding and Government should understand every aspect of an ‘Aam-aadmi’ in depth in order to mould it more effectively towards the welfare purposes, which is the sole motive of public administration. People should also equally contribute to the government programmes with much of the understanding and a robust attitude. The planning commission’s initiative for ameliorating the people’s participation concept is a good effort from government side, but the side of people must be good also in order to make it more effective. The budget 2011-2012 has a major flaw and I believe that it is the worst of all; it is the avoidance of law and order. It is a fact that, Good law and order is the soul of balanced nations and this soul is somewhere roaming around in the high skies of imagination but we need to bring it back to the earth in order to make people more disciplined. Government doesn’t even give clear views about educational development, environmental strategies and Green revolution.

It is an irony that even educated people like me always condone their own rights whose voracious use can be prolific, not for self but for all. What made me so much worried about the budget is that I couldn’t understand it completely due to lack of economical awareness. How Can I help the other 42 percent poor Indians who can’t even read a newspaper and for whom the meaning of budget is not more than their own livelihood and for whom everyday is dearer than any fiscal year? The scattered pieces of ‘Real-India’ are not materialistic, but idealistically India is divided. A child can tear the map of India but when an understanding person ruins it, he ruins it deeply by understanding more deeply. The budget of 2011-2012 is full of expectations, predictions, losses, failures, and hopes for a better state of India- Socially, economically and morally. After all, “Everybody needs valued money; it is the easy-to-understand religion of us”.

Singh Harpreet

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