The interim Budget was the Narendra Modi sarkar’s last chance to show that it could actually do the right thing by India. Instead, it gave us another bravado display of jumlas, its unique intellectual property.
The interim Budget announced Rs 60,000 crore for MGNREGA. However, over the last few years, it has never released the money to states on time, thus driving away the poorest who desperately needed this lifeline.
Where farmers face loan burdens averaging Rs 45,000, the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana provides a paltry Rs 6,000 per year. Landless labour and tenant farmers experiencing acute rural distress are ignored once again.
The urban poor have also been ignored. And there’s a catch with the middle-class tax rebate. Only a new government can implement it.
Feels like the promise for depositing Rs 15 lakh in Jan-Dhan bank accounts all over again.
The record allocation to the Railways hides the fact that the government spent Rs 111 for every Rs 100 it earned in this sector, a tribute to its inefficiency.
The claim that savings in various programmes has given the government money to support its announcements shows that the government has not been able to deliver on its promises from its previous, last legitimate Budget.
The leaked NSSO jobs report showed that unemployment under Modi was at a 45-year high. CMIE reported 10.1 million jobs lost in 2018 alone. The Modi era has been devastatingly destructive for India’s young men and women.
There is nothing in the interim Budget which seeks to address this challenge.
As told to Archis Mohan