oppn parties Budget: Intention Without Funds Is Like Trying To Grow Trees On Barren Land

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
oppn parties
Budget: Intention Without Funds Is Like Trying To Grow Trees On Barren Land

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s first budget and the NDA first in its second innings, scores very high on intent but fails to provide numbers to back it up. It indulges in fudging of figures to achieve goals on paper, something that should be sacrilege in accounting but which is now accepted as a matter of fact in government accounting in India.

The interim budget presented by the then finance minister Piyush Goyal had estimated the nominal GDP growth this year at 11.5 percent or Rs. 210.07 crore. Without any explanation or any buoyancy in either the economy or the tax collection figures, Sitharaman has raised it to 12 percent and brought Rs 93168 crore more in the books. She has done it mainly to keep the fiscal deficit in check and pompously announced that she has reduced the same to 3.3 percent. But when the year closes, these figures will not be maintained - the nominal GDP growth will be much below 12 percent and the fiscal deficit is likely to shoot up to 3.4 to 3.5 percent.

The basic problem before the government in the times of economic slowdown is to get the money to fund the schemes. It is a Catch-22 situation – without the money the economy cannot be kick-started and without the kick-start where will the money come from? Sitharaman has been candid enough to admit that there is no money to fund her plan to invest Rs 100 lakh crore in infrastructure in the next five years. She has thus proposed an expert committee that will study how to get the money.

The government got a massive mandate in the recent elections. It could have held the economy by the scruff of the neck and unleashed big bang reforms. That it has chosen not to do so indicates that this is a consolidation budget – a budget that prefers to wait and watch which way the wind blows (locally as well as internationally) before making the necessary interventions. Still, the budget has many innovative interventions for the financial sector which is most in need of reforms. If they work out well, one can expect some big bang reforms, either in the middle of the year or in the next budget.

The interim budget presented by Piyush Goyal had been termed as the largesse budget as it was presented just before the elections. In that sense, nothing further could be expected from Sitharaman’s first budget. That she has still managed to come up with excellent measures such as faceless electronic scrutiny of income tax assessments, providing a lifeline for NBFCs, allowing for government borrowing in global markets, reduce the plethora of labour laws into just four codes and relief to start-ups shows that the intention was there. But the challenges before the economy are many and varied. Sitharaman will have to consistently do better than this.