The budget and finance bill presented in the parliament shows that the ruling party is working towards achieving the “Antodaya” dream of Deendayal Upadhaya by allocating the larger part of resources for poor and socially backward section of the society.
- Shshank Saurav
Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman will present the union budget today
Union minister Piyush Goyal presented the last budget for Modi led NDA government and he tried to meet the expectations of every class of society. Budget was the reflection of the determination of Modi government towards uplifting the status of people who were neglected and felt marginalised during earlier regimes.
This is the election year and everyone was expecting a populist budget. Contrary to the perception, finance minister has taken care of his electoral compulsion without slipping over financial prudence. Nearly 23.89% of our overall expenditure (Rs. 2,784,200 Crores) is spent on interest payment (Rs. 665,061 Crores) and finance minster mentioned that that now government has to move from deficit management and start focusing on debt management. Fiscal management is better as compared to UPA regime and this is despite the fact that revenue collection from GST is not as per the initial estimates.
Direct cash transfer to farmers is one of the hottest topics currently being discussed among political pundits and notwithstanding its impact over election we must admit that it is a better way to provide relief to farmers. Farm loan waiver largely benefits the big farmers and it also undermines honest credit culture. Direct cash transfer will ensure that small farmers who actually need the financial assistance get the benefit of state sponsored scheme.
Twenty five years down the line India will be a country with aged population and ensuring social security for these old and retired people will be a challenge. Pension scheme announced by finance minister should be praised which is aimed to ensure regular income after retirement to individuals belonging to low income group. If we see the major taken by Modi government over the period n the field of social security then this pension scheme can be termed as a path breaking initiative after national health scheme (Ayushman Bharat).
Nomadic communities, tribes face the stigma even after more than seventy years of independence. These communities don’t have access to any social welfare scheme because these are not categorised as SC/ST/OBCs. Announcement to setup a committee under Niti Aayog is a good step and we can expect its outcome in coming years.
Opposition is trying hard to paint BJP as anti SC/ST. Modi’s hurry to bring ordinance to nullify supreme court order over arrest under SC/ST Act was a balancing act to counter the narrative created by opposition. Budgetary allocation for welfare of Scheduled Castes has been increased by 35% to Rs. 76,801 Crores and for Scheduled Tribes it has been increased by 28% to Rs. 50,086 Crores. These classes constitute nearly one fourth of the India’s population and we should ensure their participation in our growth cycle otherwise lopsided development will have its own side effects.
Budget is more of a resource allocation exercise and change in fiscal laws is part of it because taxes constitute larger part of government’s receipt. On the taxation front there are not many changes in tax legislation because it was an interim budget. However the announcement to raise the limit of rebate under section 87A of Income Tax Act is going to benefit almost ninety percent of salaried taxpayers. Change in rules related to income from house property and capital gain taxation is also going to benefit middle class. Expanding the scope of e-assessment is a big step towards corruption free processing of returns and assessment. It will also facilitate the return processing and refund in a speedier manner.
If we were to conclude the budget and finance bill presented before parliament then we can say that the ruling party is working towards achieving the “Antodaya” dream of Deendayal Upadhaya by allocating the larger part of resources for poor and socially backward section of the society. Increased allocation to defence and mention of movie Uri in the parliament is an indication that government intends to encash the Modi’s machoism. Modi is trying to give a message to his cadre and mass that his government is working on “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” which was promised in 2014 elections.
(The author is Chartered Accountant and Anti Money-Laundering Specialist)