(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 03, 2013
An Exercise of Inaction as well as Deception: CITU
The following is the press statement issued by the CITU on February 28:
THE union budget presented by the finance minister on February 28 is nothing but an exercise of inaction as well as deception.
Despite being high on rhetoric, the budget does not reflect even a minimum effort to address the serious concerns of the common people like the rising food prices, growing unemployment and inequalities, which found expression even in the Economic Survey. These concerns were emphatically demonstrated by the unprecedented two days’ countrywide general strike just a few days ago.
The budget was preceded by unscrupulous inflationary measures through executive order by a hectic 21 per cent rise in railway fares, and multiple hikes in the prices of diesel, petrol and LPG fuelling the price-rise further exposing their hypocrisy. It has given further encouragement to speculative activities both in money and commodity market by reducing security transaction tax, by exempting securitisation of debt from tax-net and also by exempting agricultural products from commodity transaction tax which includes food-items as well. Such commodity speculation is the major factor for continuing price-rise of essential commodities.
minister did not fail to boast of
The finance minister flagged the task of containing fiscal deficit as one of the primary task of his economy management strategy. And at the same time, every bit of his fiscal strategy in the budget is seen to be indulging in huge tax concessions to big corporate and big business lobby and his own budget-document admitted that “the aggregate revenue foregone only on direct tax account (income tax and corporate tax) which was Rs 1.01 lakh crore in 2011-12, rose to Rs 1.13 lakh crore, in 2011-12 and is showing an upward trend.” Added to that is the uncollected dues on income tax and corporate tax alone, accumulated to Rs 2.57 lakh crore. The government owes an answer to the nation on the reasons for such an indulgence to organised pilferage of the national exchequer while lamenting about the fiscal deficit.
The finance minister boasted high of making higher percentage of allocation to agriculture, rural development, education etc. But the comparison is made with the revised estimates on all those heads last year which have been much lower than the original budgetary allocation of 2011-12. The government had not spent the money they have allocated on different heads last year may be as per their strategy of austerity. If that strategy continues, do these allocations make any sense? Only on account of four flagship programmes of rural development viz., MNREGA, Gram Sadak Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana and IWMP, more than Rs 28,000 crore, which is more than 25 per cent of the original allocation, remained unspent till December 2012. The entire budgetary exercise is full of such deceptive exercise.
This union budget has totally deceived the working people of the country, who contribute to the GDP through their sweat and blood and create national wealth. It has nothing for the unorganised workers except an announcement of ‘convergence’ of various welfare schemes applicable to them. Not a single paisa has been allotted for the welfare fund for the unorganised workers. The extension of Rastriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to rickshaw-pullers, ragpickers etc announced in the budget is nothing but an eye wash. The RSBY has been able to cover only 3.34 crore people despite being in existence for more than five years and a lot of fanfare.
While the finance minister spoke eloquently about malnutrition, health, education etc and the schemes to address these, there was nothing for the around one crore workers working in various central government schemes like the anganwadi employees, ASHAs, mid-day-meal workers, the para teachers etc who are not even paid minimum wages or provided with any social security benefits.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions totally condemns the approach of the union budget which seeks to continue in the disastrous path of carrying forward the neo-liberal reforms without an iota of concern for the suffering of the common people and the workers. It calls upon all its committees and affiliated unions and the working class as a whole to oppose the budget and continue to fight for the reversal of such anti-people policies.