PRESS STATEMENT of CITU on ANNUAL BUDGET 2015-16
ANNUAL BUDGET 2015·16 : DECEPTION AND LOOT ON COMMON PEOPLE
The Annual Budget presented today by Modi Govt is an articulation of anti-people and pro-corporate bias camouflaged by so called pro-people rhetoric. May be it is now the time for them to reciprocate for the total patronage, both in materials and otherwise, from the big-business lobby, both domestic and foreign at the time of last General Elections. But the Irony is that after assuming power at the centre, the NDA combine got more concemed about the donors not for those who voted them to power.
The blatant deception behind the high decibel sound-bite of “Daridranarayana” by the Finance Minister stands exposed by the fact that the Govt sacrificed Rs 8,325 crore on direct tax account by abolishing wealth Tax and reducing the corporate tax for their big-business/corporate bosses while imposing a burden of almost three times on the common people by hiking indirect tax to gain Rs.23,383 crore. Added to this is the huge concessions flowed to the big business lobby including the foreign speculators by absolving them from minimum altemative tax. In fact the total tax concessions given to the rich and big-business (around Rs 51akh crore plus), if not given, could fully wipe out the fiscal deficit of the Govt.
Moreover, the first full-fledged budget of the Modi Govt presented an exercise reflecting a visible contraction in expenditure almost in all fronts authoring a decline of Rs 17145 crore compared to 2014-15. And such decline is reflected in either drastic decline or stagnation of expenditure/allocation of central plan outlay in the sectors like Agriculture, Rural Development, social services, Health & family welfare, women & child development, education, minority affairs etc. And notable is that compared to last full-fledged UPA-II budget in 2013-14 (2014-15 budget was a product of both UPA and NDA) decline in budgetary allocation in all fronts, particularly involving welfare of common people is so drastic that the size of the entire budget gets pruned by around Rs 3 lakh crore. Can such contractionary budget create any momentum for growth?
The allocation for various central govt schemes like ICDS, Mid-day-meal, ASHA etc has been either reduced or kept at the same level. The allocation of only Rs 607 crore for the National Social Security Fund for the 90 crore unorganized sector workers is nothing but a mockery. On the other hand launching of so called Atal Pension Yojana is nothing but the deceptive repackaging of the swabalamban scheme already launched during the UPA regime.
That is why the budget speech remains reckless in painting a picture of growth and prosperity for all in future just to confuse and mislead the common people. Simultaneously fast-track reforms for the big coprorates are being pushed at the cost of common people. In the name of targeting on the needy and avoiding leakages, subsidies on food, fertilizers, fuel and social sector are being drastically cut putting mass of the people in more distress.
Budget speech was eloquent on pushing disinvestment of shares of public sector and this time the Finance Minister also mentioned about “strategic disinvestment” meaning total sell-out. As such target for disinvestment is kept at Rs 69,500 crores. The Minister also announced the decision to corporatize the major ports with the ulterior motive to put them in the track of disinvestment and privatization. Same bent of mind made the Minister to speak about setting up so called autonomous bureau to find professional heads of the public sector banks and also for raising funds through differentiated strategies-a clear blue-print for decontrol and privatization.
The Finance Minister, going beyond his brief has proposed to divert Rs 6000 crore from EPF fund for so called senior citizens’ welfare fund. EPF corpus including the unclaimed amount belongs to subscriber-workers and the Central Board of Trustees of EPF is the custodian of that fund which cannot be appropriated by the Govt for whatever purpose it may be. Similarly proposition to make EPFcontribution optional and aligning the ESI with IRDA schemes are totally retrograde much to the detriment of the interest of the working people and must be opposed and resisted by the working class movement.
A primary glance of voluminous budget papers clearly reveals the total deception being engineered on the people by Modi Govt, which actually initiated an exercise of transferring bonanzas to big-business corporate lobby sucking the common people and the working people in particular. This can no way bring either equitable growth in the economy nor even any relief, not to speak of benefit to the people who actually creates growth and generate flows to national exchequer. Such anti-people and deceptive exercise must be exposed before the common people and fought back resotutety by the united trade union movement.