The general budget 2022-23 of the Modi government at the Centre is a pro-corporate budget away from reality. The budget is going to cause huge loss of employment, is going to decrease common man’s income and is going to bring poverty. A large chunk of the country’s population has been made the victim of a grossly disparate budget; where there is a conspiracy to allow a few big corporates to loot invaluable wealth of the country and to divide the country into two groups - the rich and the poor. The poor, labourers, farmers have been systematically made victims of price rise and poverty.
The budget of the country has been presented in such an economic background, when the common people are grappling with job losses and income slash, but unfortunately there is no provision in it for employment generation and strengthening the economic condition of the poor.
In the year 2021, 3 crore youth have lost employment. The country is at the highest level of unemployment in the last 50 years. The unemployment rate is 8 percent in cities and 6 percent in villages. 60 lakh small industries are destroyed. The government has proved in this budget that it is operating on the agenda of corporate favouritism. The claim of 60 lakh additional jobs is a hoax just like 2 crore jobs were promised every year previously.
The biggest example of deceit in the name of employment with the youth is that when the budget was being presented on February 1, the biggest demonstration was going on in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regarding the lack of jobs.
In the year 2020, vacancies for 1 lakh 38 thousand jobs in railways were there for which 2 crore 40 lakh youth had applied. The delay in the process and the decision to change the cut off suddenly led to such a huge agitation. The many times more a number of applicants than the total number of vacancies also shows that there is a huge gap between the demand and the supply of government jobs.
Per capita income has come down to one lakh seven thousand. Per capita expenditure has come down to 59 thousand as compared to 62 thousand. During the lockdown, 4 crore 60 lakh people have been pushed below the poverty line, while in seven years the central government has impoverished 23 crore people. In the era of this epidemic, schemes like employment guarantee should have been started in the villages as well as in the cities. On the contrary, the government has reduced the budget of important schemes like MGNREGA by 25 thousand crores. There is no provision even of a penny to be put into the pockets of the poor. There is not a word about the schemes of public welfare. The government has played a cruel joke with the laborers of the country by cutting off relief and help of every sort.
On the one hand, the government has been quite generous in giving concessions to its corporate bosses, while on the other hand, it has been merciless in treating the rural-poor, farmer-labourer, working and middle class. Due to widespread appetite for money and service to big industrialists, the government has directly attacked the poor by cutting down on food subsidy by 80 thousand crores. By cutting the subsidy of 704 crores in petroleum in these times of skyrocketing inflation, the fuel has deliberately been added to the fire. Similarly, the reduction of 80 thousand in fertilizer subsidy has broken the back of agriculture and farmers.
At a time when the country has reached number 101 in the list of 116 countries in the case of malnutrition, bringing down the axe upon 1267 crores in the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, sheer cruelty has been shown to the poor by the government; only to fill its own coffers.
There has been a disastrous attempt to sell off the infrastructure, manufacturing and mineral sectors. The transfer of national assets and resources has been taken care of. Instead of giving relief to the poor and labourers, an attempt has been made through this budget to provide direct benefit to a few rich by acting a puppet in their hands. The capital of 142 very rich people of this country has all of a sudden increased from 23 lakh 14 thousand crores to 53 crores 16 thousand crores which certifies the pro-corporate budget of the government.
The United Nations had declared 2021 as the Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, but the government has reduced the budget of the National Child Labour Programme by 75 percent in the 2022 budget. According to a report by UNICEF, 1 crore 50 lakh schools were closed down during the Corona and lockdown period, affecting the future of about 24 crore 70 lakh children studying here. Budget cuts pose threats of increased child labour and unsafe migration.
The current budget of the Central Government is completely anti-people. It would prove fatal for the national economy. The Central Government has destroyed the economy so much that in the last two years, the country’s public debt has reached at a level equal to GDP. That is, the entire earning is being spent to pay the interest of the loan. Experts say that the IMF (International Monetary Fund) had warned that the economy could be devastated due to the public debt reaching the equivalent level of GDP. The Central Government ignored this warning.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that cuts only in relief and subsidies have been made in this budget. The subsidy for petroleum products, which is the primary reason for the highest inflation, has been cut by Rs. 704 crores as compared to last year which enhances every possibility of increasing inflation further. This budget is an indicator of the stubbornness, rigidity and ruthlessness of the government. It clearly shows that the government is least concerned about the poor, laborers, farmers and villages.