Mudda panel wonders about meagre actual allocations and how figures will add up to benefit farmers and health of rural poor; says it was designed keeping state elections in mind
Friday’s Mudda discussed the General Budget 2018-19, whether or not it met the expectations of the public and what is there in store for different strata of the society. While farmers, rural poor and insurance companies seemed to be its intended beneficiaries, the middle class may have taken a beating in terms of direct tax rate. The show also discussed whether this budget was made keeping in mind the upcoming elections.
The show was moderated by Akshay Guar. The panellists were BJP spokesperson Ashok Thakur, president of the Kisan Shakti Sangh Chaudhary Pushpendra Singh, economist JD Agrawal, Congress spokesperson Omkar Nath Singh, expert on tax matters Yogendra Kapoor and APN consulting editor Govind Pant Raju.
Putting forth the government’s stance, Thakur said that the budget is dedicated to rural India, poor and farmers. Asked “what about the middle class”, Thakur replied that the BJP has kept the inflation rate under control and also encouraged small businesses.
Kapoor felt that whenever a budget is presented, the government tries to create a certain perception different from reality. “The BJP has been more or less positive ever since it was elected to power in 2014 but the biggest challenge with this party has been the implementation of policies,” Kapoor said.
Singh was sceptical about the budget, as he said the government was not able to shift any financial relief to the public in the past, even while enjoying favourable conditions. He said that the government did not change the price rate of diesel even when prices of crude oil went down in the international market. Similarly, the price rates of fertilisers went down in the international market but the public got no relief as they remained the same in the Indian market.
Agrawal said that it is the job of the opposition to get the policies of the government implemented by keeping a check on how much money has been allocated for different development activities. “Rajiv Gandhi had said that the poor only get a meagre amount of what has been allocated but today the public is far more educated and the government knows it,” said Agrawal.
Raju said that the budget did not take care of the middle class. “It is very good that the government took special care of the difficulties of the farmers and agriculture, but it forgot the middle class,” said Raju. He pointed out that there was no special relief in income tax. “It can happen that the government brings something for the middle class later but at least the present budget seems to have neglected them completely,” he said.
Compiled by Lilly Paul
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