Union budget is status-quoist and not transformative – Loksatta Party

Monday, February 29th, 2016 @ 8:37PM

Loksatta Party is of the opinion that the Union budget is status-quoist and not transformative. It has failed to meet the high expectations in terms of reforms.

The key features in this budget includes ensuring fiscal prudence with the government attempting to keep the deficit within target limits, modest increase in infrastructure spendings and inadequate public sector banks capitalization. Also the budget adheres to medium-term road-map.

The government is taking many initiatives like Digital India, Skill India, Start-up India etc. For these initiatives there should be a clear road-map and a well planned budgetary allocation plan. Only predictability in the budget outcomes and stability of economy are the keys for the success of such initiatives. However the breathless media coverage of budgets is a throw back to license-raj. The hype surrounding the budget gives signals that the control is only with the government which should not be the case.

The party would like to remind that the real foundations of a great India are quality education, universal healthcare, strong rule of law and speedy justice. The budgetary spends should have been increased significantly in these areas. However these are all ignored once again.

There are no major tax reforms in this budget and increased allocation for MNREGA indicates that the government is not keen on reforms in the social sector. We can achieve greatness only when productive potential of 80% is harnessed.

Though the Finance Minister adheres to 14th Finance Commission’s recommendation of devolving to the local governments, the steps taken are not adequate. Money will be well-spent when choices are local and when more decision making powers are given to local governments in making their expenditures. Even wasteful subsidies can be cut only when local people have power to redirect expenditure as they know the limit of their resources.

The party reinstates that Third tier federalism, real focus on outcomes of education & health and rule of law are the only ways forward for the real change to happen.

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