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Goyal’s budget: cheers for some sections of people

It is a tradition in the country that an interim budget excludes announcement of any kind of new policy or policies. But this time the NDA government at the Centre’s interim budget, which was presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on February 1, has been seen as a deviation from that tradition. Like a full-fledged budget it has tried to present a picture of better future in front of the country through envisaging a slew of new policies. In addition to this this budget could be considered as an attempt to placate some sections of the society like the middle class, the poor and the youth who have been implicitly or explicitly expressing displeasure over the economic policies of the Narendra Modi government. For PM Modi or the BJP this budget was the last chance to regain trust of these vast sections of people ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Hence, the government has taken last recourse at the budget to stop the slowly blowing anti-incumbency wind and that is the prime reason the NDA government turning the interim budget into a full-fledged budget.  

This budget will mostly benefit the middle class or salaried people as the exemption of income tax limit has been hiked to Rs. five lakh for the fiscal year 2019-20 from the current Rs. 2.5 lakh. This way the Modi government chooses to ripe electoral dividend in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It is a fact that his government has done two major economic reforms in the country- the demonetisation and the bringing of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. But the government is yet to convince large section of the people how could these reforms in the economic front benefit the country. The government has been claiming that demonetisation helped increase the income tax base in the fiscal year 2017-18. But it could not be the sole reason of surging of the income tax level in the said fiscal. Another factor, which also helped increase the income tax base, was undoubtedly the government’s reluctance to hike income tax rebate in the 2017-18 budget. The government abstained from giving such relief to the salaried class even after the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations. Likewise, the government could not highlight any convincing major gain by the rolling out of the GST

The NDA government prepared the interim budget at a time when the BJP faced elections debacles in three Hindi heartland states namely Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Indeed, these polls debacles signified the failure of its temple and statue politics. As such, the government machinery had to prepare the budget under tremendous pressures. Had it not asserted relief to the salaried people through the budget it might give grist to the Opposition’s’ mill to corner more the government or the BJP. This has been the reason behind the Opposition’s criticism about the budget becoming staccato. As for instance while former Finance Minister P Chidambaram termed the budget as a copy of the previous UPA’s budget, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge criticised it as the elections gimmicks of the BJP. In his budget speech, FM Goel tried to spread lots of positivity across the country. As for instance, the budgetary allocation for the North-east has been increased 21 per cent or to Rs.58, 166 crore for the upcoming fiscal year. The government has also tried to distribute freebies among the poor farmers.

The present state of the country’s economy could not be considered as good as debt burden over it has increased alarmingly. The 8th Edition of the Status Paper on Government Debt, which was published recently, revealed that the debt burden of the country hiked to more than Rs.82 lakh crore during last four-and-half years from Rs. 54, 90,763 lakh crore. Certainly, it has also mounted pressure upon the government like the NPA crises have panged the public sector banks. The recent data of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) about the employment statistics in the fiscal year 2017-18 of the country has also put pressure upon the government. Quitting of the Modi government’s posts by three eminent economists namely former NITI Aayog vice-chairman Dr. Arvind Panagaria, former Chief Economic Adviser Dr. Arvind Subramanian and the PM’s Economic Advisory Council member Surajit Singh Bhalla was definitely an embarrassment for the NDA regime. Apart from that the government is yet to deliver its poll promises made during the last Lok Sabha elections. Similarly, it has still not achieved significant success in some flagship programmes and schemes like Digital India, Make in India, Start Up India, and Stand Up India etc. Rather PM Modi has been reiterating his old promises of making India strong in all fronts. He is yet to reach the poor and lower middle class people. He also could not achieve commendable success in fight against the corruption or black money. Demonetisation, as some economists have viewed, could not eliminate corruption in the governments and menace of black money. Despite his promise of bringing back the black money stashed in some foreign banks by some dishonest and tax evader Indians, PM Modi has given back foot in this regard. However, the government has been seen successful in controlling the fiscal deficit which is now 3.4 percent of the GDP. 

It has been learnt that the interim budget of Goel disheartened those who are concerned with the education sector. Some critics have started to vent anger that the government has showed its disinterest to uplift the education sector by merely increasing Rs. 10 thousand crore in the budgetary allocation. The interim budget has aimed to allocate Rs. 93,848 crore for the education sector in the upcoming fiscal. The 2018-19 Union budget had allocated Rs. 85,010 crore for the said sector. 

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Raktim Baruah's picture

Journalist based in Guwahati. Mobile: 9706390337. Email: raktimbaruah20@gmail.com

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Watergate and bribegate

20 Jul 2015 - 9:45am | AT News

The Louis Berger episode touches off a seismic wave of reactions across the state putting a former minister in trouble.  
Caught in a simmering controversy, former GMDA minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarms said that no body bribed him and the contract for the water project was awarded as per rule of the government.
The US department of justice has referred the involvement of officials only and minister, said Dr Sarma. He added that the entire decision was executed under the supervision of Japanese bank which is financing the project.
I would welcome any probe in to the process of awarding the project, which was executed in two phases, he said.
GMDA CEO was also among the other signatories of the contract agreement which was signed by Tosuo Horikawa MD of the Louis Berger Group and Ranjan Bajaj associate director of Louis Berger Group Inc. Prasanna M Shah was also the signatory of the contract agreement to execute the mega water development project in Guwahati.
The New Jersey-based construction management firm has been charged with bribing Indian officials to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati. The bribe, of $976,630 for a Goa project by Louis Berger, included that to a minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the US department of justice.

Peace moves in progress; Pradeep, Mithinga granted bail

24 Feb 2010 - 12:06am | editor

In yet another significant development that can expedite the soon-to-be-kickstarted peace process with the government, a TADA court in Guwahati granted bail to ULFA vice chairman Pradeep and central publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary. The jailed ULFA top gun duo are expected to be released from the Guwahati Central jail on Tuesday itself.


Gogoi, who has been languishing in the jail since 1998, had six cases under TADA while he was granted bail in three cases on February 19. The TADA court on Tuesday delivered its final judgment on the remaining three other cases. The government last week informed the court that they have nothing to object if the duo are released on bail.


On the other hand, the court also granted bail to Publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary on Tuesday. It was to be delivered two weeks back but was reserved after public prosecutor Pradeep Gogoi collapsed on the court as the hearing was in progress. Daimary was lodged in Guwahati central since he was captured in Bhutan during the Operation All Clear in 2005. However, the bail was said to be conditional. In a recent development, the authorities have shifted ULFA ideologue Bhimkanta Burahgohain alias Mama to the Guwahati Central Jail from Tezpur to help the leader sit together. On the other hand, Assam Chief Minister recently told reporters that the government had nothing to object in their release if they really wanted to carry forward the process.

Public Information Campaign on Bharat Nirman at Raha

18 Mar 2010 - 1:40am | Dibya J Borthakur

“Common people are most of the time unaware of the welfare policies and programmes implemented by the governor . But a multimedia publicity programme at the grassroot level like the Public Information Campaign (PIC) om Bharat Nirman will help , in a big way, to generate awarness among awarness all about the government “ this was oberserved by Nagaon ADC P K Talukdar while delivering a speech at the inaugural function of the PIC on Bharat Nirman at Raha Sporting Association ground on March 16.


The ADC spoke about the socio-economic infrastructure in rural areas which was being strengthened through the Bharat Nirman Programme for the development of the poorest of the poor.


The four day special awarness campaign was organized by PIB and other media units of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in co-operation with Nagaon district administration.Various components of Bharat Nirman and the Flagship Programme like ICDS , NRHM, MGNREGA, Prime Minister’s 15 point programme for minorities and RTI are being highlighted in details during the campaign in the district.


Raha development block BDO Bhaskar Borbora also spoke about MGNREGA at the inaugural session.He said in his speech that MGNREGA is gradually bringing change in the life of the rural people.


Speaking on the progress of ICDS in the district DSWO Monideepa Saikia said that their thrust has been on better nutrition for children and mothers which will help in achieving the ultimate goal of having a better human resource in the country.District media expart Mahruf Alam also spoke on NRHM at the inaugural function.Among other speakers of the inaugural day were PWD SDO Atul Chandra Baishya,DEEO K K Baruah , ASEB Assistant Manager Badal Bora and Nagaon AE Babul Saikia.