Budget 2022-23 presented today in Parliament is full of high decibel sound bites with little  substance. The Budget also in continuance of the Economic Survey presented one day before reflects its cruel insensitivity  to the unimaginable miseries in the form of huge loss of livelihood, loss of earnings, deepening impoverishment and intensified hunger in the midst of orchestrated price-rise,  still being suffered by the majority of the populace along with simultaneous minting of huge fortunes by the handful of big corporate class, thereby portraying an extremely  obscene inequality, not permissible in any civilized society. The so called “inclusive growth”, “financial inclusion” severally pronounced by the Finance Minister  in her speech displays shameless hypocrisy of the BJP Govt and nothing else.   

The Budget is presented in the overall background of desperate and destructive privatization drive embracing the infrastructure, manufacturing and mineral sectors in entirety, facilitating transfer of resources from National kitty to private hands, both domestic and foreign. The Finance Minister at the very beginning of her budget speech patted herself back for its successful bonanza of the National Carrier Air India and Nilachal Ispat to the TATAs and reiterating Govt’s resolve of further transfer of  state-owned capital assets to private sector, both domestic and foreign. In fact, under Modi regime, economic policy making is gradually being hijacked out of the purview of the Parliamentary process and the Current Budget reveals the same authoritarian and anti-people destructive trend, much to the detriment of the national interests.

In that background, the Budget figures do not match with the noise of enhanced capital expenditure for productive employment generation, claimed to have been budgeted in the budget speech. Effective Capital expenditure budgeted in 2022-23 is Rs 1.06 lakh crore revealing a marginal and insignificant rise compared to actual expenditure on the same head in 2021-22, and getting largely neutralized by the inflationary impact. In fact, the effective capital expenditure for 2022-23 is well below the actual capital receipt of previous year by around Rs 63000 crore. And even this budgeted capital expenditure drawn from national exchequer meant for development of infrastructure and logistics will be mostly routed through private corporates as repeatedly asserted by the Minister in her speech; already announced project of National Monetisation Pipeline brought to light the programme of such orchestrated drainage of public fund and assets to the disposal of private corporate.

In the background of drastic fall in consumption expenditure in the economy mostly suffered by the majority of the toiling populace in absolute distress, need of the hour has been an aggressive demand-augmentation measures through focused enhancement of expenditure for the welfare and social heads and focused programme of employment generation. But true to its class character and big-business servile orientation, the Govt has moved in just opposite direction.  The claim of 60 lakh additional employment generation in five years is nothing but a hoax.

The Budget exposed its brazenly anti-people contractionary character on all counts. The revenue expenditure budgeted in 2022-23 of Rs 3.19 lakh crore supposed to include the so called host of welfare schemes named after Prime Minister marks an increase by less than 1%, despite a huge increase in GST collection as boasted by Finance Minister in her budget speech. To be specific on some of those items, the allocation on MNREGA is reduced to Rs 73000 crore from Rs 98000 crore previous year; in the face of increased intensity of widespread hunger, food subsidy  under National Food Security Act has been slashed down by 30%; fertilizer subsidy has been also drastically cut by 25% and petroleum subsidy by 11% in the face of skyrocketing fuel price. Even the allocation for Mid-day-meal scheme, (now renamed as PM-Poshan) faced a drastic cut by Rs 1267 crore.

Similarly, allocations for MSP for paddy and wheat has been slashed down by Rs 11000 crore; the allocations for PM Fasal Bima Yojana, PM-Kisan Yojana, Crop Husbandry, etc –all faced a drastic cut. For National Health Mission, and Anganwadi (ICDS), there is no increase in allocations meaning thereby a cut, if inflation is taken into account. There are many such examples.

Budget did not bother about the miseries being faced by the working people during the pandemic in the form of loss of livelihood and earnings and also widespread and rabid informalisation of employment. Despite demands for relief and expansion of social security universally for all, the budget remained absolutely in a denial mode for the working people who actually create wealth for the nation. Rather the Govt has been squeezing cruelly the toiling people through increasing burden of indirect taxes along with orchestrated price rise of all essential commodities including fuel prices, besides drastic cut in food subsidies.

On the other hand, the Govt is liberal in showering concessions on its corporate masters. In the name of measures for further simplifying tax administration for facilitating compliance, in the current budget the Govt is actually indulging, rather promoting tax-evasion by the habitually defaulting and tax-evading corporate community. As per the documents the circulated along with budget, in 2020-21 tax concessions in the form of incentive to corporate was a whopping Rs 72041 crore, over and above the  huge tax-default by the same big-business class of Rs 4.05 lakh crore. Such a crime on the nation and the people is being further indulged instead of being curbed with strong hand.

CITU considers the current Budget is totally anti-people and utterly destructive so far the national economy is concerned. The working class must oppose the destructive policy regime and assert through united resistance struggle countrywide.

March towards the two day countrywide general strike on 28-29 March 2022 against this destructive anti-people policy regime.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

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