India’s Budgetary Gimmicks

Many times I fail to understand why I and many Indians keep waiting so eagerly to watch and hear the annual ritual of the Government’s presentation of the country’s budget. It hardly helps any honest individual. Let us look at this budget. As the first reaction, Pranab has given some concession in personal taxes, somewhat higher for senior citizen. But on closer analysis, it gives only Rs 900 to Rs 2000 extra per month in hand. With present high cost of everything that one likes to possess or get, be it an appliance or service, rising aspirations and rising real inflation rate of every commodity required for day-to-day consumption, this additional money in hand hardly worth having so much of excitement for the budget.

The government keeps on selling dreams and promises, and hardly fulfills any, but stills the vote banks remain mesmerized. UPA rather more specifically Congress has learnt the tricks to keep the real vote bank, be it the farmers and Dalits, be it students and salaried class happy with promises and offers to sustain their support. It has started doing that from the first day of the second term. Be it Railway Budget or the General, the main mission appears to be the same with the rhetoric such as the preference of ‘social viability’ over ‘economic viability’ in the first one and inclusive growth and concern for aam aadami in the second. I wonder while the taxpayers of the country keep on raising the revenues and GDP to trillion level, the few so-called democratically elected persons through its bureaucracy keep on misusing the revenue in so ineffective ways. And the whole country keeps on watching. One feels proud to see the amount of money what India will spend in just one year, but gets morose after realizing that the most of the money will not go to the deprived beneficiaries with 90-95 percent as leakage loss and only the middlemen get benefited.

I shall remember this budget day for some time. I finished my morning chores and got ready by ten minutes to eleven in the morning to sit near TV to hear Pranab Babu. But then the power went off. And I kept on cursing everyone for half an hour. Why should I get excited for the budget speech when the country’s governments had not been able to provide this one basic necessity over the years?

I feel like expressing one more opinion about the perceived difficult task of preparing the annual budget, though the intellectuals may not like it. If one compares the speeches of the last few years, it doesn’t appear to be so arduous a task. Anyone, even Sibu Soren or Mayawati can do the same what Pranab babu did or Chidambaram was doing with safe jugglery of the previous budget speeches.

Congress have been great with promises and pronouncement that allure the people but proved itself as very poor in real performance, be it power or road, be it education or healthcare services for the people of the country. Just as one example, I refer to a good act of the government. It allocates Rs 100 crore for an institute of excellence in budget every year. Why doesn’t it give a mission to the institute to get into the world ranking of educational institutes in next five years?

I hope the government change its priorities and judge its fund allocation with real results in understandable terms and units. I wish the people of India would have been judging the governments also by these performances.

Will the government build at least 24,000 kms of roads of world class during its effective tenure based on the promise of building 20 km every day and considering just 300 days and that too for four years?

Will it complete the task of providing the multi-utility ID card to each citizen within three years that it has promised?

Will it provide the broad band connectivity to every village that it has promised?

Will it meet the target of the addition of 78,000 MW power generations by 2012 (or 65,000 MW by 2014that it has promised in president address to the joint session of parliament?

If the government can’t implement on its promises, what is the fun of making a billion look helpless and perpetually as fools in hope?

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