'High on rhetoric, low on delivery'

'High on rhetoric, low on delivery'

'High on rhetoric, low on delivery'

The Congress has dubbed Narendra Modi government’s maiden budget as high on rhetoric and low on content.

Former Union Minister and Chief Whip of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia tells Sagar Kulkarni of Deccan Herald that the Budget talks highly of fiscal consolidation but has very little to offer on how to achieve it.

How would you rate the Union Budget of the NDA government?

The budget unveiled by the Modi government is very high on rhetoric and very low on content and delivery.

There is no articulation of a bold vision of a statement of intent, no articulation of a direction in which the economy has to go. There is no reference to the price rise under which a common man is affected.

Many of their slogans – Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas etc – which they ran during their election campaign somehow have sounded hollow in this Budget statement.
Will this budget usher in the “acche din” (good days) as promised by the NDA?

The Union Budget was a great opportunity for the NDA to unveil their plan for growth the next five years, their vision for the country but we see no signs of hope in this Budget.
One of the key thrust areas for the UPA government was the social sector. Do you think the allocations made by the finance minister for this sector are adequate?

The social sector allocations are very disappointing.

There is no increase from the interim budget allocation of 2014-15. In fact, there has been a decrease in some sectors such as the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna where the allocation has been reduced from Rs 21,000 crore to Rs 14,000 crore – almost Rs 7,000 crore reduction.

It is very disappointing because you need to combine Bharat and India to represent a global power. This Budget is concentrated only on PPP and FDI.
What about the allocation to agriculture and measures to tackle price rise, particularly the price stabilisation fund?

An amount of Rs 500 crore has been earmarked for Price Stabilisation Fund whereas we know in any of the APMC market in big cities, there is no single transaction which is below Rs 1,000 crore.

With the Rs 500 crore allocated for the fund even a start cannot be made. For agricultural loan/credit, the outlay has been increased from Rs 7 lakh crore to Rs 8 lakh crore.

This is not satisfactory because with an increase of 12.5 per cent, the allocation was increased from Rs 5.70 lakh crore to Rs 7 lakh crore by the UPA government.
Would you call it a Rs 100 crore budget, because the FM has listed at least 28 projects that have been allocated Rs 100 crore?

I don’t want to give it any names because that is not my style.

I would just say that it is uninspiring and disappointing. In a way we are flattered because they have copied our targets on fiscal deficit – 4.1 for this year and 3.6 per cent for the year after that.

The FM talked of achieving fiscal consolidation. Is that achievable?

Fiscal consolidation is easier said than done.

If we combine the direct and indirect taxes, there is an almost minus Rs 33,000-crore gap from what our earlier budget estimates were and what have been presented by the NDA. We had aimed at 4.1 per cent target for fiscal deficit.

You (NDA) have Rs 33,000 crore gap and you are not looking at revenue buoyancy, then how are you going to meet that target?
The FM talks in favour of the Goods and Services Tax, a measure the BJP was opposed to initially?
It is surprising to note the very states that opposed this GST – Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh – have now changed their stance.

We are glad to see at least the former chief minister of Gujarat has now turned a new leaf and is possibly supportive of the GST.

This is fundamental to India’s growth and India’s economy and the quicker we spur this forward, the better it will be for the country.


A Budget in continuity

Only immediate concerns on Jaitley's political agenda


DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)