The budget is repetition of the already announced packages by the Finance Minister in the month of May, friendly to Indian and foreign Corporate with huge concessions, reduction in tax for them and increase in the cess on common man, burdening them more when there is crisis for their livelihood itself. The workers and farmers are ignored in favour of looters of our national assets.
The budget continues in the direction of selling our public sector banks, disinvesting LIC upto 75 percent, and pursuing the disinvestment and privatisation moves in the already announced profit making public sector enterprises and further adding in the list. The stated target of raising upto Rs. 1.75 lakh crore from disinvestment of profit making Public Sector Enterprises exposes the motives of and bankruptcy of the government.
The allocation in the MGNREGA is actually reduced whereas this had proved to be a great relief to many of the people in the lockdown period who had walked for miles to their villages after loss of jobs and livelihood. There is nothing to suggest for job generation which is the dire need of the time for revival of economy. What is talked about is the indirect job creation through projected Investments, which is no guarantee. The urban employment scheme like MGNREGA is the dire need ignored by the Finance Minister.
This budget actually follows the policy to allow the loot of Indian people’s money instead of recovery of huge NPAs. Rather the Finance Minister has declared that the files of more than three years period of income tax defaulters will not be opened. It is clear invitation to the looters of people’s money to continue looting as well as it is giving green signal to those whose loot should be recovered in the interest of common masses.
The Finance Minister indicated that the government is going to review 400 already existing exemptions and would make changes. One doesn’t know what is in store. There is another tax holiday year for the Start Up projects as well as concessions on their capital gains. Service sector and specially the hospitality industry which suffered during this period heavily, does not get attention in this budget. The excise duty in the service sector has been doubled since 2014. Once again the myth is repeated that with growth, jobs will automatically get created. The experience of the past is that the jobs could be generated even when there was no growth rate and there were times when the growth was there but it was jobless growth. While talking of migrant workers, none of the necessary concerns of theirs was taken note of but the only statement comes about credit relief for housing for another year. The budget doesn’t address the issue of fishing community but rather talks of only harbor development.
The anti worker labour reforms which are being vehemently opposed by the trade unions find favour with the Finance Minister. All announcements on infrastructure spending as in the past do not give any guarantee of things getting implemented and the five states are specially targeted keeping forthcoming elections in mind. The budget on health allocation is not only inadequate, but ignores the ground realty of our public health system at all levels needs immediate serious attention.
MSME sector was worst affected during pandemic with workers losing crores of jobs but there is no serious attempt by the government for its revival. Here and there some statements in regard to custom duties is neither going to help our general industrial scene nor much help to MSMEs.
There is no relief to the farmers’ rather the government has only announced the increase of threshold for taking loans. It is a cruel joke on the farming community which is already finding itself in tight corner entrenched in debt. The demands of the farmers are totally ignored rather the farm laws are being praised by the government as a boon to them, when they are braving all odds seeking their total repeal.
The budget has totally ignored the poor masses and their needs. Once again this Government is batting for the Corporates and abandoning the common masses pushing Indian economy further into mess. AITUC calls upon its unions and the working class in general to this anti people budget. On their nationwide protest on 03rd February for burning of labour codes also burn the budget copies.
Views expressed here are those of Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)