oppn parties A Different Union Budget This Year?

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Gangster Vikas Dubey's 'encounter' raises several questions and the Yogi government is under fire for allegedly getting him killed in a 'staged' encounter to prevent the exposure of the nexus between criminals and the administration in the state
oppn parties
A Different Union Budget This Year?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-12-27 08:51:14

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The 2018 general budget will be absolutely different from what Indians are used to. This is because of a host of factors. The first and foremost factor is the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Since GST is based on the spirit of federal cooperation, is governed entirely by the GST Council (headed by the Finance Minister) and has subsumed a wide array of taxes, the need for the finance minister to go into the nitty-gritty of excise and service tax levies and tinker with them as per representations by various interest groups and chambers is no longer there.

The second most important factor is the doing away of the separate railway budget and subsuming it in the general budget. Since other departments, like defence for instance, have allocations far exceeding that of the railways and are yet part of the general budget, there was no need to have a separate railway budget. There is no point in the railway minister requisitioning funds from the finance ministry and then allocating them. From now onwards, the allocation and use of funds would be spelled out in the general budget itself.

Finally, with the Planning Commission not in existence anymore, the difference between Plan and non-Plan expenditure has also vanished. Expenditure will henceforth be classified as revenue and capital, as is the stated norm in accounting procedure. It makes sense as a lot of non-Plan expenditure was disguised as Plan expenditure to escape overspending scrutiny. Now, if revenue expenditure is substantially higher than earnings, it will immediately expose the government as living beyond its means. Further, capital expenditure on various schemes will nail the government if it chooses to ignore social sector spending.

Ideally, since the time consuming details of excise and service tax are omitted, the budget speech should be short. But this year being the last when Arun Jaitley will present his full budget and the expectation that this budget will be farm-oriented, there is a huge chance that the man will play to the gallery and announce grandiose schemes, ostensibly to benefit the farmers but in reality to try and win back their votes. But both Mr Jaitley and the government should realize that unless a marketing chain for agricultural produce that eliminates unscrupulous middlemen and opportunistic traders is put in place and unless farm credit is not mostly dependant on usurious private moneylenders, the farmersÂ’ lot is not going to improve. Tough administrative measures are needed for the farm sector, not budgetary sops alone.