“We are moving from informal to formal economy and the government is now seen as a trusted custodian of public money,” said Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley in his pre- budget speech yesterday. He also said “My approach in preparing the budget is to spend more on rural areas, infrastructure and poverty alleviation with fiscal prudence.”
But words can be very different from actual actions and many questions need answers after the budget:
1) If the government is farmer-friendly, why does it not waive their loans? Why no direct relief or package to farmers, now that the bank coffers are overflowing with cash, post demonetization?
2) Are any jobs created for the jobless? It is a fact that thousands of people , especially in the informal sector lost their jobs after the shock of demonetization. When will they get back their jobs?
3) Why is the government still helping the corporate sector, when it does not do the same for the “vulnerable?” Tax rate cut for enterprises with an annual turnover of less than Rs 50 crore will result in a loss of Rs 7,000 crore to the exchequer.
4) There is nothing in the budget for women. As the worst hit after ban of Rs. 500 and 1,000 notes, were the daily wage earners, 50% of them women,they have not received any solution to their jobless and cashless plight. They can hardly access the smart phones on offer in an “artificial digitat economy.”
Jaitley’s claims of bigger allocations for rural and infrastructure development does not hold any water, as the share of the government’s capital spending in GDP in 2017-18 will actually be flat compared to the current fiscal.