By Pervez Bari
New Delhi :Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), has described the interim Union budget 2019 as vote garnering election budget of the BJP-led NDA Government. The Interim Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal has announced doles for the farmers, tax rebate to salaried class and sops to workers of the informal sector to entice them to vote for the BJP.
SDPI national president M. K. Faizy in a statement has said that the budget is focussed to tempt and bribe middle class, farmers and the unorganised sector voters to propel BJP to retain power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections which is due in April-May this year. He said that the interim budget is sheer number games, political gimmicks and far from reality. Had the BJP wanted to please farmers, salaried class and informal workers with rain of exemptions and freebies, they should have done in 2018 Budget itself? Since it is the interim budget, show of this kind of pleasing Budget in the election period is nothing but indirect inducement to voters.
Faizy said that people would have appreciated the government had the measures been taken at least a year before elections, else it is considered as not people friendly but power friendly. Earlier, when UPA declared the Food Security measure in the last interim 2014 budget by the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, it was argued that it was so glaringly last minute hasty insincere measure since there was no corresponding financial provision in the budget. Every government, thus, wishes not to serve the people’s welfare but to hold on to its own chairs of power. There is no joy when the measures are blatantly self-serving!
He said that even the middle class is fooled. The government is talking as if it gave a big relief to middle class. Only those with taxable income less than 5 lakhs rupees will get the tax exemption and that too a maximum of around 13000 rupees per year. If you earn more than Rs.5 lakhs then there is no change in tax. The increase in the income tax exemption limit is with an eye on elections. Will the salaried class be lured by such carrot and stick announcement? No middle class is going to benefit by this and it’s an insult to the middle class…another “Jumla”!
The statement said that while the government announced a scheme called PM-Kisan or ”Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi” wherein small and marginal farmers, who own less than two acres of land, will receive direct annual handouts of around Rs. 6,000. The amount would be deposited directly in their bank accounts in instalments of Rs.2, 000. The first handout of Rs.2000 is indirect bribe for vote because the effective date is back datedto December 2018 which is principally wrong. A family of 5 will just get about Rs. 3.40 per day which may be just equal to the price of half cup of tea.
It is an interim budget only valid till next government takes over and presents routine budget. Clearly, it is a clever attempt to purchase the voters officially by making payments directly in their bank accounts out of the tax payers’ money. The ‘PM-Kisan’ scheme is nothing but rubbing salt on wounds of farmers in the light of the persisting agrarian crisis, he added.
He questioned whether the provision of rebate in income tax limit only provided due to the complex return processes? Will it be going to be discontinued by the government once the return process is reduced to one day?
Secondly, will “Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan” scheme announced for the informal sector workers supersede the APY, (Atal Pension Yojna) which is currently providing similar pensions guarantee on attaining the age of 60 year against fixed periodic contributions?
Faizy stated that one thing is clear that neither the Congress nor BJP have Developmental plans, programmes for the country. These political class people just have ad hoc policy with short-sighted gains, not having long term and durable plans and policy which will make our country really a Super Power. Instead they will be playing with words like Emerging Economy or moving towards advanced economies globally at a faster pace, this kind of phrases we have been listening since UPA rule.
Now, BJP is playing the same card. Both the parties think that the people of India are fool, illiterates, hence can be fooled every time with this kind of populist Budget? In every sphere of economic, social, educational we are lagging behind as compared to other countries like Japan and China. It is painful to see Indian markets and cities flooded with Chinese products and foreign goods.