The Union Budget 2016-17 does not address any concern of economic growth or peasant distress, industrial stagnation or rising economic burden of joblessness, inflation, corruption, etc on the common people, said Dr Ashish Mittal, Uttar Pradesh secretary of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sangh (AIKMS), in a press release.
With year-round increase in taxes and levies the Budget has been reduced to jugglery of figures. Incomes are inflated to balance the figures and expenditures are announced to hear plaudits. While the big announcements hide continuing slowdown, the expenditure declared is not made and people are fooled, he rued.
Noises of care for the peasants and common person in this Budget fail to hide lack of measures for bringing down high prices of farm inputs or procurement of agricultural produce at remunerative prices. Higher outlay for irrigation without change in thrust to restore and maintain water bodies will not improve the abysmal condition of irrigation and will be squandered between equipment from companies, officials and ruling politicians. MNAREGA has been given Rs. 38,000 crores, which is abysmally low and less than what was allocated five years back. The main problems of extremely low wages, extremely high corruption, no public display, refusal to receive complaints have not been addressed. Electrification with highly irregular supply and unstable voltage is there, but there is no plan for solar panels on roof tops, which give free and green electricity to all people.
While neglecting rural development, the outlay for corruption ridden panchayats and local bodies has been raised in order to keep rural representatives on board and to make them act against the peoples’ interest.
The thrust of the Budget is on privatisation of all spheres of the economic life and entry of foreign companies in to newer sectors. Cent percent FDI is permitted in food processing increasing stranglehold of foreign capital over the agrarian sector and further ruin the small scale and household sector and small trader.
Noise made for social sectors brought only insurance coverage of Rs. 1 lakh (additional 30 thousand for senior citizens), which too will be rendered through private service providers. No attempt has been made to rein in malpractices and overcharging by private hospitals and drug firms. Even the provision of additional dialysis units is to be through private sector (PPP mode).
Education has been neglected with higher education to fend for itself through ‘internal accruals’ marking only Rs 1000 crore for higher education financing. The emphasis has been reduced to skill management where one crore youth will be targeted with a measly Rs. 1700 crores, or Rs 1700, per youth, he anguished via the release.
The Budget is out and out anti-worker. No announcement has been made to increase tax slabs. Seventh Pay Commission dealt a cruel blow to the government employees giving the lowest ever increase, in some cases decreasing actual take home pay. There is no allocation for the improvement of the lot of unorganised workers.
Several sops have been announced for the rich with corporate tax exemptions going up by nearly 5 thousand crores and total revenue forgone, i.e. subsidies to the extreme rich and corporate climbing to Rs. 5 lakh 86 thousand crores. Implementation of rules against tax avoidance has been deferred by another year.
Virtually all schemes from health to road construction to food processing have been handed over to private sector. The government is withdrawing from running facilities even for the extremely poor. Abolishing of Planning Commission, doing away with differentiation between Plan and Non-plan expenditure, further sale of PSUs’ assets are in line. The Finance Minister also detailed number of incentives to tax defaulters.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy appeals to the people of the country to see through these anti-people proposals and launch a struggle against these, the press release added.
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