Union Budget 2018-19 not populist at all: SDPI

Delhi, 02 February 2018: Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) ​​has said that the Union Budget 2018-19 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitely may appear to be popular but it is not populist budget at all. Jaitely trying to be all things to all people, budget seeks to bluff its way on fundamental tensions in the economy.

SDPI national president A. Sayeed, in a statement has said that addressing rural distress, the crisis in agriculture and the appalling deficits in healthcare coverage are not populist measures. These are economic imperatives. Healthcare is, in no small measure, responsible for the fall into poverty. And the income uncertainty of farmers is too big an issue to ignore. But on the other hand, more alarmingly, the budget still leaves open the question of whether India has a coherent economic framework, an institutional architecture that can deliver on these promises.

A Sayeed - SDPI National President

A Sayeed – SDPI National President

Sayeed recalled the promise of “Achhe Din” remains a mirage. Jaitley’s latest budget will do very little to bring the country any closer to the tantalizing promise of 2014. Despite dominating the political landscape, the government has failed in improving the lives of the vast majority of Indians.

He said that if there is no sanitation, clean drinking water and mosquitoes and flies everywhere how one expect good health system in the country. This government is fooling general masses in the name health protection scheme. This budget is not focused on economic growth, industrial growth and employment for the rural and unskilled mass and there no programmes for poverty elevation and program for rural clean water supply system. Budget is only pandering to upcoming 2019 General Election.

He stated that the Budget is a routine, though important, exercise within a larger framework for economic development. Nothing astronomical is expected to happen, even by the Government’s. The policy changes and structural reforms introduced in first 2 years form the larger framework. Addressing agrarian crisis is a reluctant and much delayed step. So is insurance-driven healthcare system, which is a feeble attempt to show Government’s keen interest. None of these are likely to result into any electoral benefit. The budget is not a populist one and according to the pressing needs of the hour.

Sayeed said it is no surprise that Arun Jaitely’s pre-election budget speech went on about how much his government cares for the people, the poor, for farmers, for women, for people running small and micro enterprises, and so on. Many major claims were made: Not just about the recent past, but about the coming fiscal year, with supposedly massive increases in public spending that would be directed towards these hitherto-ignored categories of people. However, the actual increases in budgetary outlay are shockingly low in relation to the massive promises made. This is deeply worrying, not just because of the government’s public declarations, but because the Indian economy now desperately needs major measures to ensure a sustainable revival of economic activity that would benefit the bulk of the people.

The statement stated, “The lack of good quality jobs and the poor quality of health and education provision just at a time when the country should be experiencing the fruits of a demographic dividend is not just an economic problem: It threatens social and political disruptions on a large scale. Informal activities are yet to recover from the double blows dealt by demonetization and the poor implementation of GST, and the associated lack of effective demand has afflicted formal activities as well”.

“All promise no achievement. People should judge this government on the basis of achievement and not on the basis of promises being made. Minimum Support Price, (MSP), for all crops at 50 percent of the cost of production and RS.5 lakh health insurance for 10 crores of the families is going to be dubbed as “Jumlebazi”. Finance Minister should convince the people about the way these promises are to be you cannot seek votes on the basis of promises and after getting votes dub the promises as “Jumlebazi” and forget”, the statement added.