I thank the MEL for presenting the analysis of budget in a simple language and demystifying its intent and purpose. While the India Inc (as they would like to call themselves) have unanimously hailed the budget, the working class and people have been left confused by the rhetoric of “change”. This rhetoric falls flat as one looks at the intent and the actual figures, which has been elaborated in a simple language, demystifying the process and approach of budget making.
Immediately after the budget was presented Mr. Chidambaram, the Finance Minister in the Congress led UPA government who presented the 2013-14 budget made an interesting statement. He said that “BJP is claiming of making a “Congress Mukt Bharat”, when they cannot even make a “Congress Mukt Budget”. But that is not great revelation. The fact is that these parties and their agenda cannot be very different. They serve the same masters – the big bourgeoisie, and it is these masters who set their agenda.
In the run up to the general election, both these parties were called by various association and chambers of industrial houses like CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, etc, and made to commit themselves to the agenda set by India Inc. The budget is reflection of that commitment. Through the budget exercise interest of these industrial and business houses have been preserved and expanded.
The claim that the budget is based on “mandate for change” falls flat as one looks at the planned expenditure on social sector. Far from increasing according to growing needs of the society for better health, education, and so on, it has dropped by 0.4%. This drop is further accentuated to 10.4% if one corrects the figure for inflation. The situation is worse if one sees per capita expenditure, since the population has increased over the year. It just shows who interests are considered primary when the budget is made.
As has been elaborated in the article the very approach to budget making is faulty. It gives primacy to the concerns of the international capital to keep budget deficit under control, to make India attractive to foreign capital, while people are deprived of even basic necessities. As has been the trend more is being extracted from working class and people in the form of various taxes.