Friday, July 24, 2009

A gloomy budget and a gnawing society

UPA’s re-election,largely on the ground of whimsical expectations of the poor ,has not given a promising hint to them on this account of social reforms in this year’s budget.Though UPA leaders have claimed that budget is flexible and will be raised and reformed if necessary,but niether the pro-poor policies have earned any consolidation nor any big ticket social sectors programmes have been spotted until now.

The Child Rights And You(CRY)director Dipankar Majumdar was left amazed to find that 40%of the populaton [that is the children] gets only 5.6%allocation while they had campaigned for 10%allocation for education and health.While the Center For Budget And Governance Accountability(CBGA) noted a boost in technical educations with the ministers letting the allocations for setting up of community polytechnics a new IIT and some new IITs and IIMs,it found to its dismay a decline in the allocations for the Sarbya Shiksha Aviyan(SSA)and the mid day meal on the other hand.For a country which is on the fast track of development,striving to emancipate from third world economic growth track,it is very much abashing that it still ignores the cause of basic health and the education of the poor.

All India Democratic Womens’ Association(AIDWA)recognised the budget as the betrayal of their trust and a drift in the promises made in the President’s speech.The much touted National Mission for Empowerment of Women got a meager of Rs1Crore and for Rashtriya Mahila Kosh(that supports women's self help group)has also being reduced by11Crores.The allocation for government supported hostels for working women even decreased from Rs20Crore to Rs10Crore!the allocation for the Six Bharat Nirman Schemes have been raised by 45% and to the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna by 59%.

Allocation for NREGS has risen only by 30% over the revised estimate for the last financial year.If the target now is to give 100 days work at a daily wage raised from Rs80 to Rs100,then the NREGS budget must be raised by 125% and not 30%.

Our budget earmarks an additonal Rs1200Crores to elementary and secondary education,which is uncountable and almost negligible in comparison to the required Rs10000Crore +,if the right to education act is to be supported and a compulsory education is to be ensured for age group of 6-14years.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal’s propensity for privatisation of schooling system is absolutely not justified and the other radical reforms it introduced all went vain until and unless the whole curriculum on all India basis is revamped and a child centric-warm environment is ensued throughout the length and breadth of the country in each and every schools.In his 100 days agenda somewhere,he forgot to take into account that the problem is manifold.Changing the examination system or having a single board is not going to help.In a country where nearly 30%of the children drop out at the upper primary stage,while 50% drop out by the time they reach class 8,the ministry should aim at ameliorating primary education more than it do for higher education.

While in corporate sector,the conscience of the Finance Minister is much more visible.Though the sensex went into a tail-spin by 870 points on the budget declaring day,we must remember the market sentiments do not reflect in the full the judgement of the industry.Moreover it was due to the mis-speculation of the economic survey (presented prior to budget),wrong promotion by media and analysts etc. that lead to the fall.

Excluding the increase in MAT,the corporate sector has received a bonanza:

1.Extension for one more year in deduction from taxable income of the export profits of the software technology parks of india [STPI],special economic zone[ SEZ],export processing zone [EPZ],free trade zones [FTZ] units.

2.Abolition of the Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT).

3.Continuation with temporary excise duty exemption.

4.Tax concessions on investments made by national pension scheme trust in equity.

5.Abolition of commodity transaction tax.

6.Support to stock and commodity trading and several others.

Initially a dip in corporate exaggerated expectation (of more privatisation & more liberalisation) turned out, ultimately,a much happier section at the end of the day.

In this colossally hierarchical society,where the government should empathize with the weaker section of the society…..the UPA’s budget has cut taxes for the elites---those with an annual income exceeding Rs10lakhs will be exempted from paying 10% surcharge on personal income tax.

With the gargantuan fiscal deficit,the erroneous budget has successfully passed the pressure on to the “aam admi” while the “khas aadmi” is still at the blessings of the UPA.


tulip said...

a good synopsis of budget of 2009...though its a bit lengthy!