February 8, 2022
Aparupa Poddar speaks during the General Discussion on the Union Budget for 2022-23
Thank you Speaker Sir, for giving me an opportunity to speak on this General Budget for the year 2022-23.
As I stand here to speak on behalf of my party, Trinamool Congress, I have to make an honest confession that considering the economic crisis that is slowly spreading its wings across various sectors of the economy, this budget was a chance to address the slowdown through bold measures and tackle the issue of rising unemployment, but this budget was all about “Mungeri Lal ke Haseen Sapne”. The Budget has failed to live up to the expectations of the farmers, middle class and youth. The Government has just used fancy words & on the other hand the allocations for various sectors present a grim picture of their commitment towards Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. BJP had promised to double farmers’ income by 2022 but there was no mention of it. The agricultural sector was in deep crisis owing to drought and floods. Farmers expected the implementation of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee Report on agriculture, but the budget has ignored it. Much was expected from the Union Budget 2022 which has come at a
time when the Indian economy is facing an economic turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic and battling widespread unemployment and inflation. High hopes were pinned on this year’s budget as the country saw young people protesting for Railway jobs, farmers protesting for the government to address their loss of incomes, micro-sector producers as they faced closures and PSU workers as they fear loss of jobs due to privatisation. It was expected that the Union Budget would give some relief to these sections by promoting employment in these sectors. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech promised to take care of all these issues, however, the budget numbers suggest that the promises are unlikely to be kept. Allocations have to justify the pronouncements. At Rs 39.45 lakh crore, the budget expenditure is 15.3% of the projected GDP of Rs 258 lakh crore. For the current year, the revised expenditure of Rs 37.7 lakh crore is 16.2% of the estimated GDP of Rs 232.15 lakh crore. In other words, the expenditures will be proportionately less than what they currently are slated to be. Further, the allocation to MGNREGA is cut back to Rs 73,000 crore from the revised estimate of Rs 98,000 crore this year. It needed to be stepped up substantially given the increasing demand for work due to high rates of rural job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, the allocation in labour intensive sectors such as rural development and agriculture and allied activities show little rise or an actual decline when adjusted for inflation. Thus, this investment pattern will not lead to the boost required in employment generation. This year’s budget speech announced a plethora of schemes but has
landed itself in a variety of contradictions. On the one hand, it talked of privatisation while on the other, it promised more investment in the public sector. Similarly, it also spoke of encouraging growth of cities and mega cities and a
massive increase in urbanisation while talking of protecting the environment. Everyone knows that cities are guzzlers of energy and resources. One has to have a policy of creating smaller cities and not mega cities. How that is to be achieved requires planning, which is not in evidence. The budget has not addressed growing unemployment and inequality. No Wealth Tax introduced to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. Pandemic has made life difficult for commoners but providing any relief is not on the government’s agenda. The rich stands to gain more,
In brief, the budget lacks coherence, does not take care of the current problems faced by the people and does not seem to be credible even though it promises something to everyone.