Budget appeases the rich: CPI-M

New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) The CPI-M on Monday said the annual budget was aimed at appeasing the rich and that it will only accentuate the problems of unemployment and rising inequality.

“The budget is, therefore, distorted without any vision. It is once again a blatant attack on the poor and the oppressed,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said in a statement.

Instead of taking measures to enhance domestic demand, the budget will further contract exports, leading to increasing distress in agriculture and the countryside, collapse of industrial production, and slowdown in construction activities and many services.

The Government’s claim about the impressive growth performance of the Indian economy was belied by the revenue realization figures for 2015-16, it said.

The revenues from corporate and personal income taxes have been far short of the budget estimate – by a whopping sum of nearly Rs.46,000 crore.

The lower revenue realizations have also affected adversely the states’ share in central taxes as the amount transferred to them in 2015-16 was less than promised budget estimates.

The fiscal deficit targets have actually been met by a higher realization of excise duties – Rs.54,000 crore more than budget estimates.

It said the direct tax proposals would lead to a revenue loss of Rs.1,060 crore and gains to the rich.

“The finance minister has also given a very perverse signal as far as tax discipline is concerned by announcing yet more amnesty schemes for the benefit of tax defaulters.”

In agriculture the main increase which the budget shows are by way of transfer to banks and insurance companies that has no real benefit to the farmers.

“Despite tall claims of a big push in infrastructure, capital expenditure in 2015-16 was lower than budgeted and is proposed to be kept at almost the same level in 2016-17 – implying a reduction in real terms and as a share of GDP from 1.8 to 1.6 percent. Both food and fertilizer subsidies have been cut by Rs.5,000 and Rs.2,000 crore respectively.”

It added: “The lofty claim of highest ever allocation for MNREGA is patently false because it was higher in 2010-11. Maintaining 2010-11 levels in real terms would have required an expenditure of over Rs.65,000 crore in 2016-17.”

The CPI-M said that proposals to liberalize FDI in insurance and to decentralize foodgrain procurement “also represent dangerous moves that would add to the destabilization of the Indian economy”.

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