For the first time, this government has presented a budget for the country without revealing its assessment of the economy. This speaks volumes for what it wishes to hide. The budget is deceitful and based on untruths. A report for Different Truths.
The Budget (vote on account, for three months) has announced an income support of Rs 6000 per family to small and marginal farmers owning up to 5 acres land, which is much, much below the benefit of Rs 10,000 and Rs. 8,000 per acre announced by Odisha and Telangana governments, respectively. For an owner of two-hectare land this is Rs 1200 per acre per year, 1/8th to 1/6th of the state schemes.Of this, Rs 2000 will flow to beneficiaries as an election bribe with no guarantee of future payments, stated a press release of the AIKMS.
Moreover, around 55% of all peasants are landless and work as sharecroppers or on lease. The government scheme does not even touch this section, it was pointed out.
Peasant distress has resulted from very steep rise in cost of production, particularly diesel, fertilizers, insecticides and seeds, poor maintenance of irrigation, meager raise in MSP and no assurance of govt. procurement, resulting in distress sales, increasing debts and continuing suicides. On these the budget falsely claims that it has announced MSP for 22 crops at 1.5 times the cost of production. It has announced no steps for debt relief, procurement of crops and reduction of input costs. On irrigation, it has simply pushed again the extremely costly and cumbersome drip irrigation scheme beneficial to corporate houses.
Welfare measures, including for health, MNREGA, PDS, pensions, etc., have been continued as cash transfer schemes even as corrupt officials repeatedly delete names of beneficiaries, extract their pound of flesh and then restart it. Social welfare cut backs go right up to the top and provide welfare to the corrupt. Yet the government has failed to provide for good quality and affordable education, health care, transport, employment avenues and proper food security. Its food subsidy bill was Rs 1,69,000 crores in 2018 and has been raised to Rs 1,70,000 crores this year, the FM making a comparison with the 2014 food subsidy and claiming he has doubled it. Vision 2030 has nothing for the poor and hardworking peasants and workers and is meant to decorate the country for the MNCs, corporate, the rich and powerful big landlords, mafia, etc., stated the release.
The pension scheme for 42 crore workers of the unorganised sector has no budgetary meaning as it is a participatory scheme. It highlights that almost one third of India’s population today is without any stable means of employment, income and security. Data quoted from the EPFO to claim improvement in employment is completely bogus as this data is never updated properly.
The measure of income tax relief to the lower income groups, is but a very small and long overdue measure, as is apparent from the meager reduction of Rs 18,500 crores it imposes on the national income, i.e. only about 0.67% of the budget expenditure.
Reliefs announced on taxes from sale of properties also reflect the deep crisis in housing industry where sales are falling behind constructions.
The budget betrays a stamp of a crisis ridden economy and the government has displaying no vision to revive it. It has simply disowned the agrarian crisis and reduction of jobs under its 4.5-year rule, claiming to be on course to ‘doubling farmers income by 2022’. It also ignores its own report on rising unemployment (National Statistical Commission) and takes refuge under a lofty Vision for 2030. Convention called for only a statement of account, but it has declared prospects for 2030, which is its sinister design to postpone matters of concern to a distant future, to avoid accountability.
Peasants and youth must realise that the government committed is for profits of corporate and landlords. It cannot and will not improve the income and living of peasants and they must rise in struggle for meaningful, relief for agriculture and employment, the press release emphasised.
©Different Truths News Service
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