July 9, 2019
Aparupa Poddar speaks on the Union Budget 2019
This budget 2019-20 is entirely shifting of goal of the government and changing its projections just to fool the people. After completion of five years in government, budget document is not talking about achieving a double-digit growth but buzzing with 5 Billion Dollar economy. As a member of the opposition party it is my duty to expose the hollowness of claims of the current Government and to highlight their failure to address the basic need of the country and to plan to SELL INDIA.
If you ask any person in the street there will be an uniform answer that lack of employment is the biggest concern of the country, especially among the youth. Have we seen any acknowledgement of the fact of highest unemployment in last 45 years in this budget speech? The answer is a big NO. In a country, oF a population of 130-crore-is-the- figure Of 2.5 lakh employment generation is a figure even worth mentioning?
Time and again this Government has shifted the account, manipulated figures, suppressed independent evaluation and cast aspersion on independent economists and thinkers. Institutions have been attacked; their independence undermined and any voice of dissent was muzzled in the name of nationalism. In last five years we have seen two RBI governors were forced to move out of the Bank. Recently, a Deputy Governor who consistently opposed Government interference in RBI matters left prematurely before completion of his term.
Many timés, GDP growth rate figures were revised retrospéctively to show that things were well despite the world-wide acknowledgement that Indian economy has been passing through a serious downturn. In terms of 2011-12 base year, the GDP was 13.99 in 2005-06 – 19.92 in 2010-1 1 ; 10.46 in 2015-16 and 11.20 in 2018 8-1 9. The world bank reports the growth rate of GDP in India as 9.285% in 2005 ; 10.26% in 2010 ; 7.41 in 2014 and 6.624 in 2017. From the above fact it is clear that Government cannot fool everybody all the time.
A pro-people, government would have passed on the moderation in global oil price to the-consumer. Instead, this government passed on the entire burden on the consumers when crude oil price hit US Dollar 80/barrel and imposed excess excise duty when the price has fallen to US Dollar 60/Barrel. Today almost 18 Rupees are collected by the government from consumers as excise duty for sale of one litre of petrol. The corresponding figure is 13 Rupees per litre in case of diesel. I demand immediate roll back of excise duty and cess on petroleum products which will put further pressure on the large scale of people.
The Government is talking about doubling of farmers income by 2022. There is a negative trend in agriculture and to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 there is a nedd of 18% annual growth in the sector. Can the Government tell us how the current budget will help achieving 18% growth in agriculture?
Growth of industrial production has also shown only marginal growth due to deceleration in manufacturing sector. Government in last five years showcased the dream of ‘Make in India’ and at the end of five years manufacturing sector is showing far less growth compared to previous year. The figures in the Economic survey conclusively prove that people are in distress, there is visible downturn in economy, there is a loss of jobs, less employment opportunities, people do not have enough disposal income to buy products. But still the government is in denial and the budget is trying to show that everything is fine with the economy.
On external front, current account deficit has gone up from 1.9% of GDP in 2017-2018 to 2.6 % in 2018 ( April-December). This is largely due to increase in trade deficit. India’s export today stands at US Dollar 330 billion which is marginally higher that what it was in 203-2014. So, there is no visible growth in India’s export over last five years. Government is trying to push a free trade agreement with China and other ASEAN countries through Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which will destroy our manufacturing industry especially the MSME sector.
It is also a fact that the graduates engineers are in deep problem in getting jobs in country and all the students are in position to get job in abroad. The technical and engineering colleges are in trouble to get students. We have talent and can compete with foreign brains as well as technology. Why we will not march MSME with technical institutes and or with it is of the country and can exchange ASEAN ( Association of Southeast Asian Nations ) technology to produce cheaper products and sustain the job and economy market therein.
The budget is the privatise public sector. Rs 105 lakhs crores has targeted from PSU shares sells. There is no reason to sell Salem Steel, Alloy Steel Plant and Viveswaraya Iron & Steel, also there is no clarity to corporatize Chittaranjan Locomotive Works including land and industrial plants of state-owned enterprises like National Thermal Power Corporation, Cement Corporation Of Indian, Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. It has been seen that in 2014-15, when Modiji took over as Prime Minister, central government expenditure shrank from 13.9 per cent of GDP to 13.2 per cent.
Since then, it has dropped to just 12.2 per cent in 2018-19, as per CGA data. What is the reason to suck out cash from the profitable public sector through shares buy back? Does this Government want us to go back to the IMF again with a begging bowl? I urge upon the government to withdraw the decision of sell out or corporatize PSUs immediately.
I cannot remember a single government in the recent past that showed such spectacular failure in all fronts. None of its promise has come to reality and yet it is trying to sell new dreams. The budget, instead of addressing the immediate issues in hand, is trying to plan a 10 year road map which is full of dreams.