The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 03 February 2021

Drawbacks in the Budget 21

  • The author in this article tries to bring out some drawbacks in the budget that could be addressed.
  • He provides that based on the assumptions and calculations of the budget in accordance to the economic survey, we will take around 2 years to make the economy reach the pre COVID-19 levels. Hence, he says these are abnormal times and the budget is not transformative in nature,
  • The budget has 6 pillars and healthcare has been provided primary importance but the overall expenditure planned to undertake is not enough as it is only 1% more than previous year.
  • The budget has also provided importance to the capital expenditure and wants to create a change with this, particularly the infrastructure but the author expresses two issued with it:
    • The delay in starting the projects
    • The delay in completion of the projects
  • These both include funding and such other structural challenges related to infrastructure.
  • He points out that certain sectors have been spoken about like Tourism, Real estate, Financial services etc.
  • The Agricultural sector has had no support neither through Urea subsidy or rationalizing PDS or even for schemes like the PM KISAN.
  • Export promotion has not been spoken about or addressed in the budget.
  • Though there are good things like the DFI or the Development Finance Institution or even the digital census, urban employment or demand generation has not been spoken about; these two aspects have been left to the vagaries of the growth cycles.
  • The author also lauds the honesty with regards to the Fiscal Deficit but the execution now matters and how these measures will be able to solve the problems and the economy back in action.

New Ways in the Budget

  • The author in the article calls the budget as a spend thrift one in a positive sense and an honest one as it speaks about the elaborate fiscal deficit target of 9.5% to the GDP.
  • The budget according to the author shows a change in fiscal stance of the Govt.
  • The Govt has increased the duties or tariff barriers which provides that they are moving towards a protectionist regime and protecting their domestic borrowers.
  • The Govt has also increased the performance linked incentives for some sectors as well.
  • The Govt has aimed at privatization and increased in FDI in India.
  • The fiscal deficit on record, the Govt has promised to amend the FRBM act as well.
  • The Govt seems to depart from the basic fiscal orthodoxy of Macroeconomic stability which aims to balance the budget with minimum borrowing for financing the deficit.
  • This has been called as austerity measure which is done in strict sense.
  • The IMF and the world bank had been pioneers of this measure but now they tend to encourage the member nations to spend more on the economy and the people.
  • The author says that India can do well in this regard but the fiscal deficit should be catered to in the right way as it can lead to inflation.
  • Privatization to fill the deficit seems like a good move but it can also lead to job losses.
  • The Govt has provided for increase in FDI but also Atma Nirbhar Campaign so this is contradictory situation and needs to be solved.
  • All in all, with new changes and positions, this fiscal year is something to look out for.

Counter Left-wing Extremism

  • The author provides emphasis to the Central Reserve police forces of the country and the changes we need, also how their stance has changed from defensive to offensive in recent times.
  • Post-2008 when the problem seemed to slow in Jammu and Kashmir region, the troops were moved to the Left-wing extremists’ areas like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, etc.
  • They underwent immense training and practice yet they suffered losses at the hands of Maoists and later they had to change their stance to the offensive.
  • This change has been seen from 2011 and led to the deaths of several Maoists, for instance in 2019 alone, 55 Maoists were killed.
  • In the last decade, we have seen over 569 Maoists being killed.
  • But this is not enough, we need to do more, for example
    • Better technology, weapons, and equipment have to provided
    • They need to be provided with better intelligence
    • They need equipment like drones among others
    • There is a mention of Belgian Shepherd Dogs that can be of great assistance to them
    • They need to be allocated pucca houses so that they can resists weather or any external attacks.
  • The funding happens to be the most basic reason of all this, where their estimated demand in 114 crores ₹, they have only been allocated 33 crores ₹.
  • An RTI application at the Ministry of Home Affairs has provided that ₹3000 lakh has been allocated to Chhattisgarh and ₹2000 lakh has been allocated to Jharkhand.
  • Hence, we need to right kind of solutions here, even though the problem seems like, under control, forces like greyhounds and Jharkhand Jaguars have been placed for an unforeseen occurrence.
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      Dr. RS Aggarwal
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