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CPM flays Budget, terms it Payback Gift to Corporates

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New Delhi, July 05: The Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPM) has termed the Budget 2019 as a payback gift by the government to the corporates.

In a statement, Polit Bureau of CPM on Friday said that the first budget of the second Modi Government is a payback gift after the elections to corporate India and foreign financial interests.

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"Whereas the Budget would help big corporate capital and the wealthy to strengthen their grip on the Indian economy and foster greater integration of the Indian economy with international financial markets, nothing is there for India's working people - kisans and workers - who would be left to fend for themselves in a world of shrinking opportunities for employment and livelihood," said the CPM.

The Left party said that the finance minister's speech listed a long menu of pro-corporate 'reforms' like opening up the Indian economy even more to foreign portfolio and direct investment (including the pension sector), creating a 'financeable' model for highways, promoting PPP in several areas including railways and metro development, etc. and even commercialization and financialization of social welfare through a Social Stock Exchange.

"What is shocking is that instead of addressing the fundamental problems in the taxation system and raising more resources from direct taxes except through extremely piecemeal measures - the Finance Minister has chosen to give several tax concessions to the corporate sector even while burdening the common people with additional excise duties on petrol and diesel to the tune of Rs. 2 per litre," said the Left party.

It further added that hitting at the public sector is the Government's chosen additional route for raising resources.

"On the one hand disinvestment of public sector enterprises to the tune of Rs. 1.05 lakh crores is being planned. Further, PSEs will be bled by squeezing more of their profits out of them for the Government - and this amount has been raised from Rs. 1.36 lakh crores in the Interim Budget to 1.64 lakh crores in the final one. Even after all of this, the projected figures will keep the expenditure to GDP ratio the same."

The CPM further maintained that there were no references, however, to the issues of remunerative prices and debt relief that India's farmers are in desperate need of and the creation of a more anti-labour labour code was also presented as a 'reform'."

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The statement said that Finance Minister Sitharaman's speech was completely silent on the problems of economic slowdown, agrarian distress, industrial stagnation and joblessness that everyone knows currently afflict the Indian economy.

The CPM accused the government of manipulating the Budget accounts, which it said only serves to establish that the expenditure commitments for 2019-20 lack credibility as they will be cut if needed to meet fiscal deficit targets.

"As regards the actual Budget, the Finance Minister chose to not disclose the actual figures for revenues and expenditures for 2018-19 even though they are available by now. Instead the revised estimates presented in the Interim Budget on 1 February were retained in the final Budget - obviously in order to conceal the verifiable fact that the actuals of both revenues and expenditures in the previous year were significantly lower than in the Budget Estimates and even the Revised Estimates of the Interim Budget," said the CPM.

The party alleged that the budget shows very little increase in spending for people.

"The first Woman Finance Minister of the country had presented a budget in which the expenditure on women has fallen from 5.1 per cent to 4.9 per cent of the total budget. Even the Nirbhaya Fund for women's safety has not seen hardly any increase. There has been a marginal increase in spending on welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In the context where government's own statistics are showing a massive increase in unemployment, the Finance Minister has cut the allocation for MGNREGA by Rs. 1000 crores as compared to the revised estimates for last year. "

It asserted that the Budget reflects the complete denial by the Government of the real economic situation of the country, which is living proof of the inability of a private capital led development process to either address the agrarian crisis or create employment opportunities outside it.

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