A BUDGET FOR NEW INDIA
The Union budget for the financial year 2021-22 was presented by the Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman on 1st February. Speaking about the budget in the parliament on 10th February the honorable MP Tejasvi Surya observed that the budget would help create 21st century infrastructure required to build a ‘New India’ as the government had made the highest allocation in terms of infrastructure development and capital asset creation since independence.
Budget made allocation highest for the health and well-being of Indians. “New India will not only be a young nation but also a healthy one” he said. Defence spending which has been increase by 19% is highest capital outlay for defence modernization in the last 15years. He also opined that this ‘New India’ budget would also make our armed forces more capable.
Stressing upon the importance given to innovation in the budget he said, in terms of push for digital payments, digital census, hydrogen fuel research, and support to national research foundation and space exploration would make New India a leader in frontier technology and future ready and this was being accomplished in a hassle free manner without burdening the average tax payer and also congratulated the Prime minister and the finance minister for this.
He remarked that the political economists often say that good economics often results in bad politics. But this was not the case with the current budget as the budget was presented with a good intent and politics of good intention was the way forward.
The budget being presented during an extra ordinary time, a time when the world was battling a pandemic and the test of human resilience was at play, strength of our institutions and conviction of our leadership was put to test, it’s truly remarkable and a tribute to the vitality of our ancient civilization that despite all odds India emerged stronger he opined.
Appreciating India’s handling of the covid pandemic and proving all doubters both at home and abroad wrong, he said that today, India was a country with lowest deaths per million population in the top 25 countries with highest number of cases, he pointed out the in India fatality rate which stood at 1.4%vis-à-vis the global fatality rate of 2.1%, when it came to testing India was the second highest with total tests of 20cr 25 lakhs. He appreciated the Indian government’s stimulus package given during the lockdown amounting to 13% of the country’s GDP.
Highlighting the vaccine manufacturing efforts of India, he said that India was one the few countries that had indigenously developed vaccines and was supplying it to the world and earning the distinction and good will of being the vaccine capital of the world. He congratulated the finance minister for allocating 35,000 crs for vaccine distribution.
He questioned the intent of the erstwhile policy makers and how India was deliberately kept poor by design in spite being blessed with natural resources and young talent all these years; quoting Mr.Nani Palkhiwala “the economist rightly remarked in January 1987 that the socialism practiced in India had been a fraud! Our brand of socialism did not result in the transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor but only the honest rich to the dishonest rich, we built up state owned enterprises called the public sector in India the sleeping sickness of socialism is now universally acknowledged but not officially in India. No fewer than 231 PSUs are run by the central government and 636 by the state government. These PSUs are black holes and money guzzlers and they have been extracting an exorbitant cost for India’s doctrinaire socialism, there has been a tidal wave of privatization sweeping across the world from Bangladesh to Brazil but it has turned aside in its course and passed India by, the most persistence tendency in India has been to have too much government and too little administration, too many laws and too little justice, too many public servants and too little public service, too many controls but too little welfare; every segment of the people’s enterprise is festooned with red tape; from the very first decade of the republic the iron claws of the license permit quota raj were laid upon the national economy and even today their grip continues with their insignificant relaxation.” lampooned the opposition.
The honorable MP said from the first day at the office the intent of the Prime minister was to reverse the perverse ideology of socialism that perpetuated and distributed poverty and usher in growth and prosperity for all Indians. In order to pursue this government had embarked on root and branch reform of India’s political economy, from sanitation to space exploration, from coal to new generation fuels, agriculture to AI, from soil to oil, employment to education, solar energy to diesel de regulation the government has positively transformed every aspect of India’s life he remarked. The budget for the first time uses the word privatization and is not apologetic about the fast based disinvestment and asset monetization; It was high time that the precious tax payer money was put to a better use instead of spending it on the loss making PSUs said the honorable MP and thanked the prime minister on behalf of the youth of India.
He took a jibe at the congress party by asking them that if they were so concerned about the loss making PSUs and called their sale as selling family silver then why the UPA government was so keen on monetizing temple gold. He added that even the vilest of the opponents couldn’t accuse the government of being touchy towards reforms as this was the most reformist government so far. De regulation of diesel, commercial coal mining reform, FDI in defence, FDI in insurance, IBC code, GST, FDI in railway operations, revised corporate tax rates, recapitalizing the public sector banks, faceless tax verification, reforms in MSME and NEP etc. were all accomplished by the Modi government.
Further India has jumped to 63 position and moved up constantly and has clocked the third place in ease of doing business ranking of IMF. As result of all of these reforms the size of the economic pie had increased and the government under the leadership of the prime minister has worked efficiently in order to lift the poor from poverty by using this and India was no longer the home to poor the most number of poor in the world from 2019 and reminded the congress party that this is how poverty alleviation was done and by empty promises and slogans like ‘Garibi hatao’.
Like the term secularism, farmer’s welfare was the most misused term in the Indian polity. Farm loan waiver was a shortcut to win elections once in five years and the farmer was forgotten after that. But the present government was involved in actual upliftment of farmers by issuing 22.41 cr soil health cards while the opposition was pre occupied with ruckus and fermenting trouble all over the country he said.
Defending the Farm laws, he said that the essence of the farm bills was to free up the farmer from the shackles that held him back and provide him access to free markets where he would be empowered to sell his produce to whomever he wishes. The farm laws neither removed the APMC nor forced him to sell his crops to someone. He also lauded the efforts of Railway ministry in electrifying railways and how railways had achieved electrification at a faster rate when compared to the years of UPA; and how Indian railways would be 100% electrified by 2024 leading to a fuel saving of 14500 cr per annum.
He personally thanked the finance minister for sanctioning 15,000 cr for Bengaluru metro airport line starting from silk board in his own constituency and extending up to the airport and pointed out how the woes of traffic would subside after the completion of this project.
Talking about the digitization efforts of the government he said that in the last six years more 312 schemes of various government departments reached the people digitally and more than 13.91 lakh cr was transferred to people directly through DBT which was more than the annual budget of many states; he added that through DBT 1.78 lakh cr was saved by preventing leakages. Appreciating the prowess of UPI he pointed how Google wrote to united state federal reserve to design a platform similar to UPI.
Praising the efforts of National language translation mission, in which the efforts to translate the government records into regional languages was being carried out the honorable MP said he could relate to it as being an MP from the south. He also lauded the efforts of the government to digitize the rural land records through SWAMITHVA yojana and said it would benefit the poor of the country greatly by providing digital property card to the rural populace.In conclusion he said that the thrust given by the government to the startups and start up infrastructure of the country by abolishing angel tax, to setting up of commercial courts to enabling direct listing of Indian companies in foreign exchange or the startup India program all these were steps in the right direction and these steps brought personal joy to him as he represents the startup capital Bengaluru in the parliament. He added that the mention of one person operated companies was allowed permission was going to revolutionize the Indian business eco system forever. The allocation of 50,000cr to the National research foundation was a much welcome step as any country trying to leap forward needed to invest in research and innovation. The budget he said was futuristic in its outlook and it was matter of great pride that out 5 largest solar power plants 4 were in India and the budget focused on further tapping into the sustainable development by giving importance to non-conventional energy sector by additional capital infusion of 1000 crs. The promise of hydrogen mission would not only revolutionize the sustainable mobility and transport sector but also change the future course of the country. Pointing to the fact that 65% of the entire lithium ion batteries were produced in china, the honorable MP said that the hydrogen mission in this regard was something to look forward to as it focused on country’s energy security.