Tuesday, July 15, 2014


General Budget 2014-15 was presented by the Finance Minister of NDA government at the Centre about five months after the Interim Budget for this fiscal was presented in parliament by Finance Minister of UPA-II government. It’s now an open fact that the Indian economy has been in poor shape for last two-three years due to plethora of known and unknown reasons. The GDP was lower, the inflation was high and so was the rate of unemployment. The fiscal deficit and current account deficit, though looking to be within the targeted level in 2013-14, was actually managed by resorting to accounting tactics for covering up ballooning subsidy bill by rolling over fuel subsidy worth thousands of crore from last fiscal to the current  fiscal, while remaining silent on the roll-over figures for food and fertilizer subsidies on the one hand  and  by containing  the quantum of gold import through imposition of additional customs duty on the other hand.

Notwithstanding the bad economic legacy that the new union  government inherited, the maiden budget presented by Arun Jaitley is undoubtedly an attempt, may not be seen as very bold,  to correct, improve and balance the position - by announcing several measures to control inflation, spur growth in all sectors to boost GDP indices and to create reasonable number of  job opportunities, offer certain tax exemption, effect fiscal consolidation and finally to create investor friendly business climate in the country.

The reaction by political parties for or against the budget proposals is going to be on expected lines based on their political ideology and compulsions for cogent reasons. Broadly speaking without any political bias from the point of view of a common man which includes millions of people from lower middle class, there are certain relief in terms of tax exemptions and also making provisions of funds for agriculture and rural development in general. There are many new initiatives to address the grey areas which have been  greatly impacting the lives of poor and disadvantaged section of society. In fact, next few months will be interesting to watch the real ground level impact of different budget proposals.

All said and done, the bigger question still remains unanswered, at least for now. And that is the perennial 15 paise versus 85 paise syndrome. Ironically, government after government accepts this to be the greatest malady as far as governance is concerned; the widening gap between rich and poor is concerned; the white and black economy in this welfare state named India is concerned, to list a few. 

But then, who will reverse the trend and how long it will take to make this happen against the backdrop of all big talks by all those who have been claiming to be the champion of espousing the cause and concern of common Indians for decades together? 

Believe me, if only this can be ensured and 85 paise of every rupee that government allocates in the budget starts reaching the targeted beneficiaries instead of meager 15 paise out of a rupee presently, there would be great qualitative as well as quantitative improvement not only in all sectors of economy but also in the lives of every Indian. After all, it is tax payers’ hard earned money, which nobody is entitled to waste, misutilise or misappropriate. 

To say in few words, instead of making much hue and cry for more and more resources by every government, be it in Centre or in States, if resource management is taken care of on highest priority with utmost sincerity in a truly professional manner, far better inclusive growth model can be sustained year after year. And then better days will not be really far off for none of us.

As always, I am keen to know what you think on this subject. Hence, request you to post Comments to share your views and experiences.  
Published in Weekly Magazine,'Indian Currents' on 14.07.2014 

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