The difference between an Interim Budget and a full Budget is that, first, the latter is preceded by an Economic Survey. Second, it contains a Finance Bill and seeks Parliament’s approval for expenditure for the whole year. Third, it introduces new items of expenditure. Now, wilfully, this government has violated Constitutional conventions, and presented a full Budget.
As far as the Budget is concerned, I am not sure about the figures. If you look at the ‘Budget at a glance’, on the first page they are saying that they are assuming a GDP growth of 11.5 per cent. I am not sure what is the inflation and what is the growth content, but they have expanded the denominator so that the fiscal deficit is reduced. Then, look at the GST figures. The actual in 2017-18 was Rs 4,42,000 crore, and the Budget Estimate (BE) was Rs 7,44,000 crore, and the Revised Estimate is Rs 6,44,000, a decline of Rs 1 trillion. Yet the BE for next year is Rs 7,61,000 crore. So, you can give any figure and show the fiscal deficit is being contained at 3.4 per cent.
The BE for this year for expenditure on major items, agriculture and allied activities, is approximately Rs 64,000. It has gone up to Rs 86,000 crore, and the BE for next year is Rs 64,000. Now, Rs 75,000 crore under the PM KISAN scheme is an additional burden, so there is a gap of Rs 11,000 crore here. The BE of the current year represents an increase of Rs 11,000 crore from the actuals of the previous year, which means other items of expenditure, for which they have not provided enough, will suffer.
These are sleights of hand by which you claim that Budget deficit is going to be reduced. It is nothing but an example of “After me the deluge”.
As told to Archis Mohan