Thursday, February 22, 2024
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A Misleading Interim Budget

By its own admission the government has brought in this interim budget, a vote on account, more as a stopgap measure in the election year. It is a vacuous exercise which makes a futile attempt to paint a rosy picture of the economy. The reality is that unemployment rates are higher compared to when this government took charge ten years back and there is increase in agricultural workforce indicating shrinking of job opportunities in other areas. Farm distress is obvious with fall in agricultural prices. The fertiliser subsidies, food subsidies, MNREGA allocations have all fallen. There is marginal increase in Animal Husbandry budget but not enough to take care of all stray cattle which destroy more crops than what the PM-Kisan DBT can compensate. Similarly, Anganwadi, PM-Poshan, Old age, Widow and Disability pensions allocations have fallen too. The budget doesn’t have anything to arrest rising inequality, it is an anti-poor budget. Inspite of high sounding slogans of Make in India or Atmanirbhar Bharat, the reality is that our dependence on China for essential items has increased.
The Prime Minister who criticises opposition politicians for distributing freebies does the same thing and has overseen a lacklustre performance of the economy. The much touted FDI hasn’t arrived to boost the economy, on the contrary declaring substantial amounts of loans, much larger than by previous governments, taken by crony capitalists as NPA has led to flight of capital from the country. There has been migration of HWI and, even illegal, of ordinary people from Gujarat risking their and their family members’ lives from the country indicating the economy is not so rosy after all.
Manoj Sarang,
Spokesperson, Socialist Party (India)

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