Budget – What is the common man looking for?
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]t is the season of union budget. This is the time of the year when dreams, hopes and expectations run high in the country. Starting with the average person on the street to the corporate scions, all sections of the society are looking forward to a slew of concessions from the union finance minister. The last working day of the month of February is one of the most crucial days of the year which could make or mar the dreams of millions of people for the next 365 days.
If the promises given by the former finance ministers while presenting the union budgets are to be taken seriously, the living standard of the common man should have gone up by leaps and bounds over the last few decades. There was this finance minister from Tamil Nadu who had no qualms in peppering his budget speeches with names of Bollywood blockbusters like Main Hoon Na? Chak De! India and what not. It is another matter that all his budget proposals ended up like rotten masalas and he himself is facing a series of criminal cases ranging from money laundering to official impropriety. He also ensured that the economy of the country has gone to the dogs.
The sad truth is that even after 69 years of independence, the life of the common man continues to rot. One has to struggle to meet three square meals a day and clean drinking water. This is despite the fact that the country is bestowed with some of the best rivers in the world through which billions of cubic feet of water is wasted into the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala are on an eternal war over sharing of river water and lowering the height of dams which are more than 150 years old.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]ravel by trains or buses in India is the most uncertain thing in the world. There is no guarantee that you will reach the destination as per the schedule announced earlier. Rail tracks need to be replaced, while the condition of Indian highways is better leave unsaid. The only guarantee is the number of toll booths along the highways which are strict and sincere in collecting the boots.
The fair price shops in the country(also known as ration shops) which distribute essential commodities like rice, wheat, sugar and kerosene could be identified from a distance of one kilometre thanks to the foul smell emanating from the rice and wheat stock! The poor need to eat only this kind of stuff, say the bureaucrats. Isn’t it possible for us to have public distribution shops of the same standard as that of super markets which we see in modern shopping malls?
Shouldn’t we have buses and trains of global standards which travel much faster so that we could save our time and money? Shouldn’t we have super speciality hospitals which could be accessed by all irrespective of their financial standings? Shouldn’t we have educational institutions where our children could complete their formal and informal education at affordable costs?
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hese are the issues which have to be answered by the finance minister while he present the union budget for the year 2016 – 2017. The finance minister says Indian economy is strong and growing but also blames the Opposition for not helping the government to enact legislations in parliament. For the last one year, I have been reading the news that the country’s fortunes would undergo a change only if the government could get the Goods and Services Act (GSA) passed in Parliament. Since both the Congress and Communists have personal hatred for the Prime Minister, it is certain that they would not allow the government to pass either this legislation or any other law which may benefit the common man.
What is a matter of concern is the government’s excessive obsession with the GST Bill? This Bill has become a hostage in Sonia Gandhi’s hands. It is understandable also as she always considers the Prime Minister as Mauth Ka Saudagar (Merchant of Death). It is another thing that the poor lady does not know the meaning of the term because all has done is to read from the script in Italian language handed over to her by the likes of Aiyer and Anand Sharma. If only the Prime Minister agrees to bail her out of the corruption charges, the signora* will agree to help the government in the GST Bill imbroglio.
Is the GST Bill that important? (We will come to it in the next post…)
*signora – courtesy title for a married woman in an Italian-speaking area, equivalent to Mrs.
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