Home Insights Budget, A Mere Election Speech, Full Of False Claims And Jumlas. –...

Budget, A Mere Election Speech, Full Of False Claims And Jumlas. – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Budget, a mere election speech, full of false claims and jumlas.

Amarjeet Kaur

This year’s budget was an election speech by the Finance Minister, praising her government, having done marvelous achievements in various walks of life by unabashedly using unsubstantiated data and falsehoods.

The budget once again is entirely directed towards advantage to  international finance capital, and government’s favourite Corporates at home as against Public sector enterprises, Cooperatives and MSMEs, as is evident from the policy announcement encouraging  FDI, and favoring monopoly houses to take over post harvesting operations. The drive of privatisation and sale of Public assets and infrastructure are to continue according to the budget. The tax reduction of rich and super rich would continue but the common man would be facing increased taxes to meet government’s deficit targets.

Employment and the Budget

The speech claims to have trained 1.4 crore youth, upskilled and reskilled 54 lakh youth and established 3000 new it is, hundreds of IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and Universities. But is silent on employment opportunities to them. The fixed term employment is being implemented, outsourcing, contractualisation is encouraged and the sanctioned posts remain vacant. In the face of severe unemployment and hopelessness, we are witnessing how the young workers are being lured by BJP governments in states at the behest of the PMO to go to Israel, a war torn conflict zone, to pursue its policy of siding with US-Israel nexus of committing genocide against Palestinians and flouting the voice of world community for immediate ceasefire.

The speech claims to have given credit assistance to 74 lakh street vendors. Their own admission that only 2.3 lakh received credit the third time, lays bare the truth.

The allocation of budget for MGREGA is continuously being reduced every year and this year also it is 5 percent less than the actual expenditure in 2022-23. The wage arrears of work done are also included in this allocation. Another truth is that only one percent of the 56 million households who applied for jobs were given work of 100 days only. Another naked truth is that 5.48 crore MGNREGA workers were removed from registered the jobs cards list.

Agriculture

This budget has given lowest ever provision for agriculture and allied services, a decline of 22.3 percent, 6 percent decline even from revised budget. The speech talks of “periodic increase of minimum support price’, while sidelining the demand for enactment of a law guaranteeing MSP. In the result that the Annadata is actually suffering as none of his demands have been addressed. The allocation for fertilizer subsidy is less than the spending in 2022-23. The policy is directed to annihilate the poor and marginal farmers.

Poverty and Malnutrition

The claim of 80 crore people being given free ration is in itself a commentary on the continued and rising poverty. Against the claim that 25 percent poor people were brought above poverty, the facts are that from 19 crore below poverty line a decade ago there is an addition of 20 crore into it making it 39 crores. This is so despite changing the definition of poverty by this government. India has fallen to 112 out of 125 countries in the World Hunger Index.

Among the death of children below 5 years of age, government’s own admission in Supreme Court says that 65 percent of them are dying due to malnutrition. The suicides among daily wage earners has increased as per Crime Bureau reports On the other hand the budget allocation for women and child development ministry is mere 1.5 percent only of GDP.

Women

Contrary to the false claim of the women participation in labour force, they have not even reached to the employment level what existed prior to Covid-19, the women’s paid employment has fallen dramatically adding to their miseries. Gender Parity Index for India has fallen further. Almost 70 percent of the Nirbhaya Fund was unspent by December 2023.

Education

Budget allocations in public education and public health were being reduced and trend is visible this time also. Against the truth that large numbers of government schools have been closed, a false claim of increased schools is made. Similarly what does not exist at ground level with quality are the claims made about IITs, IIMs AIIMS etc.

Assorted Jumlas

What is listed above is hardly the sum total of jumlas. There were many more, such as :

  • Wages of working people have increased 50%!. The truth is that the wages are being depressed.
  • Modi government is notorious for using bulldozers to destroy the houses of the poor and marginal sections, but claims to have built 53 lakh houses, whereas in its own admission in implementation document it laments that they could complete only 13 lakh houses.
  • The much touted Ayushman Bharat Scheme does not include the promised ESIC coverage in recommendations.
  • The funds for public sector based scientific research are consistently drying up, while PM Jai Anusandhan boasts of encouraging scientific research.
  • The announcement of three railway corridors would make only the corporates happy, as there is nothing of help in it for the common commuter.

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) is the oldest trade union federation in India.
Amarjeet Kaur is General Secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organization.

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Acknowledgment: This article was posted by Aasthaba Jadeja a research intern at IMPRI.

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