New Delhi 01 March 2015

The Social Democratic Party of India-SDPI has termed the 2015-16 Union Budget as outright pro-Corporate budget with the common man, especially the middle class left in the lurch with service tax hike and no income tax exemption slabs.

SDPI national president A. Sayeed expressing his reaction, to the Union Budget presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jately on Saturday said that when it comes to providing a tax relief, the government chooses corporate India and forgets about common man. The budget carried forward more aggressively the neo-liberal economic agenda of the earlier UPA government. It is in black and white as the income tax slabs for the vast middle class remained unchanged while corporate tax has come down for the elite, he added.

Sayeed said that increase in Service tax is anti-poor. The hike will pinch because it will increase prices of everything including construction of houses, purchase of tractors, food, schooling and many other things. This is an anti-middle class budget which is the backbone of Indian economy. The Middle/Lower middle class got nothing from the budget. On other hand next year he has to pay more Income Tax than this year. Both foreign and domestic corporates have hugely benefited from the budget. It is a Budget for Corporates not citizens where there is no focus on Education and Health.

While reduction in the corporate tax, he said, will not lower cost or production. This is the last item to be deducted and reducing this deductible will only increase net profit. It is a reward which would be enjoyed by the already bloated inefficient, corrupt corporates. By reducing Corporate Tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, Jaitley has paid back to the people who funded Narendra Modi’s campaign. This is one of the lowest corporate Taxes in the world. By delaying reduction is Fiscal Deficit, Jaitley has not encouraged FDI, this will not improve India’s debt rating and invest grade. This budget is for the “Corporate Rich” and nothing more.

Sayeed said it is intriguing as to why Jaitely in his Budget 2015-16 speech said that the allocation for the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been “protected.” While in the entire 43-page speech, the minister has not used the word “protected” for the allocation of any other ministry or department. Does it mean that the actual plan of NDA government is to wipe out minority welfare programs and for the time being they are temporarily protecting it? The increase of measly 4 crore in the minorities budget as against 3734 crore of previous year which now will be 3738 crore for the welfare of more than 15 per cent minorities is a big joke, he stated.

He said that the entire tax structure has been so well organised to give benefits to the rich and burden the common man. The total direct taxes have been reduced by Rs.8, 050/- crore and indirect taxes, paid by the people, raised by Rs.23,383/- crore. By slashing funds for the social sector like in NRHM and mid-day meal, the budget has also done a great disservice to the people, he added.

Sayeed wondered as to what savings one will expect an individual can do if medical coverage increased by Rs.10,000. It’s again Corporate who gain from this policy. Health Insurance Companies must be happy as this will bring more revenue for them. Already many top corporates are in this high margin sector and will induce many more to join into this business.

He said no cleanup have been done to existing mess created by Chidambaram and predecessors. For example, CST continues even a decade after promised abolishment.

Sayeed pointed out there is no announcement to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pre-poll promise of farm loan waivers and giving minimum support prices as per a proposed formula of investment plus 50 percent returns. He said that the BJP’s pre-election promises are turning out to be hollow as there is no budgetary provision or plans to address the acute agrarian crisis with focus on credits, cost and crop pricing issues or measures to stop farmers suicides.