‘Lot of announcements, but with no allocations’

Anand Sharma | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 29, 2016

Anand Sharma

This budget is very long on announcements and short on details. Like in the previous two budgets, it has the signature of the Finance Minister and the NDA government, with too many sundry schemes and announcements and very little allocations.

How are the numbers going to be matched? Expect agriculture, the other social sector areas have taken a hit. They are talking about MGNREGA. But ₹7,000 crore of last year’s payments are pending. The allocation is too less to match the demand of jobs.

If you look at the damage done to the agriculture in the last two years by this government, it was high time that there is a course correction. There appears to be some realisation that the earlier approach was seriously flawed and investments in agriculture and increase in productivity was not given the desired thrust. So now, when you are going back, it is in the backdrop of two years of distress, weak monsoons and falling productions.

At the same time, when you look at the irrigation in budget what is being shown as ₹86,000 crore in the next five years, is also linked to multilateral funding. The Centre has not come up with clarity on numbers. You have enhanced allocation for Railways. But where is the money shown in budget?

If it’s disinvestment, it’s falling well short of the overall disinvestments projections. They were projecting ₹25,000 crore last year, and this year they say the figure is ₹58,500 crore. The strategic disinvestment is ₹25,500 crore and we feel that the figures are overstated at least by ₹15,000 crore. The corporate tax and income tax projections are also highly unrealistic.

Non-tax revenue

Even in the case of non-tax revenue, we don’t see that the projected money coming. So, the Finance Minister is not clear on his plans to raise funds for the schemes that have been announced.

The Centre has not done anything which can lift the investment sentiments. Private sector investments are very low. There has been a contraction. Stressed assets of the banks recapitalisation is a necessity. The Finance Minister has cut more than half the allocations for recapitalisation of public sector banks in the last two years. Banks are in such a dire strait.

The availability of the capital must be ensured. You cannot have the Indian economy grow only on FDI. And, FDI has slipped drastically. It has to build on the domestic capital availability also. The capacity is lying idle. The utilisation is less than 60 per cent in performing sectors.

capital utilisation has to be optimum, only then one can expect fresh investments. The government should create new assets. We don’t see more jobs being created. Also, there is no incentive for saving. Savings rate too, is going down. Look at the export sector. There is no announcement for the sector. They blame the global slowdown, but our export contraction is 18 per cent. The budget is silent on this. There is no vision, than some marginal allocations to SMEs.

The Congress will move cut motions to the budget. This budget will not help in reviving the economy.

(The writer is the Deputy Leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha. As told to AM Jigeesh)

Published on February 29, 2016
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