The first post-Covid budget of the Modi government makes no attempt to arrest and reverse the dangerous down slide of the economy, and provide immediate relief to the most affected sections of people who have lost jobs and suffered major erosion in income and livelihood. Instead, the budget follows the direction of transferring the burden of the crisis to the people while providing India's big corporations with increasing opportunities for wealth accumulation.
The economy needs increased public investment and expenditure, but the budget has focused on wholesale disinvestment and privatisation.
The budget needed to focus on job creation and direct transfer of income and purchasing power to the common people. Such a focus is conspicuously missing.
India's top 100 billionaires saw an enormous increase in their wealth (nearly 13 lakh crore rupees) during the pandemic and lockdown. The budget makes no attempt to tap into this wealth by way of measures like wealth tax or transaction tax.
Instead of reforming India's revenue policy by ensuring increased revenue collection from the super rich and granting some relief to the middle class through reduction in GST and income tax relief, the budget continues to follow an extremely regressive revenue policy.
The longstanding farmers' demand for legal guarantee of fair MSP for all crops has once again been denied by the government. Indebtedness is a pressing problem for India's small farmers and Microfinance loanees. The need for a universal waiver of all small loans is being acutely felt across the country and the budget has betrayed this key demand .
The budget fails to address the basic demands of economic revival. We therefore demand a thorough revision of the budget and appeal to all sections of India's working people to raise their voice of protest.
- Dipankar Bhattacharya
General Secretary, CPIML