In a quick reaction to 2023-24 union budget presented today, Comrade Provash Ghosh, General Secretary, SUCI(C), has said:
As anticipated, the Budget 2023 is a mock representation of the acute growing economic crisis prevailing in the country the brunt of which is being borne by the unceasingly pauperizing toiling millions. The marginal increase in some ‘feel-good’ allocations or token giveaways in personal taxes or boastful claim of maintaining free ration for one more year to 80 crore people (confirming that much of the people are poor), what PM Modi derided other day as pre-election ‘revdis’ are deceptions par excellence as the rates are much lower than inflation which rose by 30% over last four years and thereby end up giving no relief but more pangs to the people. The entire focus of the BJP Finance Minister has been on prattling customary “will dos”, “will be established” as well as “likely to happen” phraseologies and newly-fangled Hindi nomenclature of government schemes while continuing to offer more benefits to the monopoly houses under the guise of boosting investment and beefing up infrastructure. Carefully avoided is any reference to the surfeit of big promises that the PM had given before elections. Stressing on ‘resilience’ of economy to withstand external adversities is without any credible supportive evidence. While FM claimed 66% surge in digital transactions, recently published reports show cash transactions have gone up by massive 72% compared with the pre-demonetization period. There is no mention of soaring inflation coupled with surging recession, galloping price rise, spiralling unemployment and rocketing job loss due to either large scale retrenchment or one after another closure of industries, phenomenally rising inequality, alleged frauds by monopoly houses to artificially boost up share prices to inflate wealth holding, mounting NPAs in banks and worst performance of Rupee among Asian currencies. The very claim of increase in household expenditure is a misnomer as consumption demand reportedly is highly skewed in favour of goods and services consumed largely by households falling in the upper-income bracket. Moreover, a fall in private savings and rise in bank consumer loans to Rs 83.5 trillion, are suggestive of middle and lower middle class families borrowing to spend on basic needs (credit-driven growth) since income avenues are squeezing rapidly. It has been found that the government is still banking on external borrowings of over Rs 15 lakh crores to finance budget deficit whereas currently, total loan figure is stated to be Rs 155.31 lakh crores meaning a burden of as high as Rs 1,09, 373 per countryman. A recent survey has shown that a one-off tax on unrealized gains from 2017–2021 on just one billionaire, Gautam Adani, could have raised Rs 1.79 lakh crore or a one-time tax of 5 per cent on the 10 richest billionaires in the country would have fetched Rs 1.37 lakh crore. Moreover, boasting of growth in tax revenue is marked by the fact that 64 per cent of the total Rs 14.83 lakh crore in Goods and Services Tax (GST) raised in 2021-22, had come from bottom 50 per cent of the population while the contribution of top 10% rich was only 3 per cent. Many big business pocketed the credit input benefit instead of passing to the end-customers and yet more waivers are announced for them in the name of rationalization.
So, this yearly ritual of budget presentation has indeed become a farce as it does not address any of the people’s issues but abounds in sickening sycophancy of the PM, and break-jaw economic jargons and gymnastic of demagogy to shield the utter failures of the BJP government subservient to the ruling monopolists and totally against people’s interest.