Statement issued by BJP's Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
The Union Budget presented before the Parliament today has very little to offer to the Indian economy. It is a budget presented by the finance minister under adverse circumstances. The UPA’s policy paralysis has pushed the Indian economy towards a distress situation. The finance minister found himself in a helpless situation with very little elbow space. He has therefore presented a budget which only makes certain cosmetics changes in the policy and taxation structure. Though verbose in content, the budget is low in ambition.
It does very little to boost Indian manufacturing. Agriculture continues to face the government’s neglect. Even a ritual of reference to the Aam Admi has been abandoned. It contains no steps which could boost exports, inflation contained and the Rupee strengthened. Having brought down the economy to a 5 percent GDP growth rate, the UPA in its latest budget fails to lay down even an initial road map for walking back to the 9 percent growth rate destination.
There is an apparent jugglery wherein tax rates have been increased for certain sections both in relation to direct and indirect taxes and the expenditure has been hugely cut down/ under-provisioned. It is only the cutting down the expenditure /under-provisioning which has been used to make this year’s and next year’s fiscal deficit optically more presentable. Examples of this are too many in the detailed budget document.
The Food subsidy Bill was estimated this year at Rs. 75,000 crores. The actual revised estimate shows an expenditure of Rs. 85,000 crores. For the next year’s budget estimate this amount has been reduced to Rs.80,000 crores and the finance minister claims to have provided Rs.10,000 crores extra because of the Food Security Bill. Effectively it is only an increase of Rs.5,000 crores whose impact on food subsidy will be marginal.
On the health mission, current year’s budget provide Rs.18515 crores, the revised estimate is Rs.15411 crores. The next year’s budget estimate has marginally increased this amount by about Rs. 3,000 crores.
There are similar situation with regard to the expenditure on Panchayati Raj. The UPA’s flagship scheme MNREGA originally provided for Rs.40,000 crores. In the past two years this amount has been reduced to Rs.33,000 crores. The current year’s actual estimate are at Rs.29387 crores. Next year’s actual expenditure may be even less. The finance minister has optically brought the proposed target back to Rs. 33,000 crores knowing fully well that it will not be utilized.
The most glaring example of failure is Rs.29677 crores provided for Pradhan Mantri Sarak Yojna. The revised estimate for the current year is at 40 percent i.e. Rs.8100 crores. For the current year there is a proposal to increase the expenditure to Rs.15690 crores.
The new flagship programme touted by the UPA is the Direct Cash Benefit Transfer Scheme. All the 26 schemes covered under the scheme have a budgetary allocation of Rs.5595.02 crores. Till today the actual expenditure is only Rs. 5.38 crore . This scheme was touted as a Game Changer of Indian politics.
There is a warning in the budget. The petroleum subsidy of Rs.96980 crores is intended to be brought down to Rs.65,000 crores. It is an indication that petrol, diesel and gas prices will further increase.
This Budget is not a policy statement. It brings no directional change. It is merely an accounting exercise wherein expenditure has been cut with no prospect of increase . This may not spur growth. The poor and the weaker sections along with the middle classes will be hit the most.
Why is the BJP afraid of nailing the governments lavishing money on anti-males?
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