Letters

A pragmatic Budget

| Updated on February 01, 2019 Published on February 01, 2019

The interim Budget has a lot of surprises for the common man and the middle class. They can heave a sigh of relief from the unjustified levels of direct taxes levied on them. Money value has come down drastically and we are no longer in an era where the rupee had a reasonable purchasing power. To that extent, the Budget has been ultra-sensitive and proactive. Critics have given a different twist altogether saying the it is basically carrots being doled out pre-elections. The bottomline is that it has touched almost all sectors of our economy, particularly farmers, who have reaped the maximum harvest. When the ruling government does good, the Opposition cries foul and when they don’t deliver a good Budget, they are labelled ‘no-performers’. That’s the way politics works.

Ashok Jayaram

Bengaluru

A report card

The 10 dimensional ‘Vision 2030’ is fascinating, but that apart the interim Budget is basically an exercise for securing votes in the coming elections and a report card of the NDA government, which tries to project the ache din promised by the BJP in its last election manifesto. At the ground level, however, the story is different.

The implementation of the various schemes has been poor. Mishandling of demonetisation and the enormous problems and losses incurred by trade and industry because of the half-baked GST scheme are cases in point. There is hardly any notable reduction in GST rates; some items are still taxed at rates higher than earlier. However, the proposals relating to farmers and middle class are are likely to benefit a large section of the population.

A Sathyanarayana

New Delhi

In election mode

Finance Minister Piyush Goyal seems to have played the vote-centric political card very well through the NDA government’s interim Budget. With an eye on the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, the Budget contains something for every one.

One wonders whether some visibly unfavourable pre-poll predictions recently made public by some of the surveying agencies have anything to do with all these all-alluring proposals.

Mind you, the middle class, the government’s most precious vote bank, has this time been obliged with unprecedented tax relief. However, the moot question still remains: Whether the government would now be able to regain their confidence apart from successfully 'wooing' various other categories of annoyed voters.

Kumar Gupt

New Delhi

Unemployment rate

This refers to the report that NITI Aayog does not know what India’s current unemployment rate is. It is also reported that the NSS draft revealed that the unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent in 2017-18 highest since 1972-73. It is not known why the NITI Aayog did not make efforts to find out the correct figure and why there was a serious variation between the data revealed by the NSS and the EPFO.

The government must take steps to find out the correct figure. The government should also probe the circumstances which caused the fall in employment rates, if true, and steps to raise the employment opportunities. It is also necessary to examine whether the sectors creating employment like the industrial, commercial and agricultural are performing properly.

TR Anandan

Coimbatore

UBI skipped

This refers to ‘Budgeting for the bottom of the pyramid’ (February 1). The NDA government’s earlier key decisions such as the demonetisation of highvalue notes, GST and reservation of posts for forward communities were introduced without much preparation, sense of timing and statistical analysis.

So it has come as an unexpected relief that the interim Budget has skipped the electorally attractive idea of universal basic income. This scheme is only a band-aid solution to an increasingly inequitable economic growth, where workers, traders and farmers have continued to be stuck at the bottom of the pyramid.

The new government should focus on both structural reforms and UBI and that too after in-depth scrutiny.

YG Chouksey

Pune

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Published on February 01, 2019
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