Every year on 1st February our Finance Minister presents our National Budget. Through this write-up, I am expressing my views as a citizen of India and not at all as professional. Because, what I think is most of the times views expressed as professional are biased. Let it be. Let’s turn to our topic.
This year our Finance Minister set 7 priorities, naming as “Saptarishi”. These 7 priorities are:-
> Inclusive Development
> Reaching the last mile
> Infrastructure and Investment
> Trust based Governance
> Green Growth
> Youth Power
> Strong Financial Sector
We will discuss all the above points one by one. However, Reaching the last mile, we will discuss at last. Let’ begin.
> Inclusive Development:-
- Building digital public infrastructure for farmers:-
- Whether the older generation and that too from rural areas are that much educated and can they be able to use those digital infrastructures? This aspect must be checked and acted upon before implementing such kind of facility.
- Setting-up Agriculture Accelerator Fund for encouraging innovative start-up in rural areas:-
- Whether the younger generation turns to farming or not is the question. Still many youngsters left their village and came to the cities for livelihood. As they are experiencing suicides from their own families and or from close relatives. So except few, most of the younger generation is not keen to become a farmer. Therefore setting-up any fund is not the solution and any government should first look at this, reach to the root and must act upon.
- 157 new nursing colleges to be established:-
- Whatever our government (past or present) has done or is doing with respect to health the sector is still not enough. The rate at which our population is increasing and the rate of creating facilities in this sector are not commensurate at all.
Effective inclusive development would happen only when the government works hand in hand with people from all sectors.
> Infrastructure and Investment:-
- Highest ever capital outlay of Rs.2.4 lakh crore for Railways:-
- Numbers in the budget doesn’t matter. What matters is whether that allocated part of the money reach to root level and that is the reason why I kept second point in Saptarishi i.e. “Reaching the Last Mile” at last to discuss.
We all have experienced and know that what the position of toilets at railway platforms is. They are below average. And people who maintain them are all druggists or alcoholics.
Same is the issue with basic necessities. Still we have no water supplies, no proper electricity and no proper roads. Blaming the past government is not the solution to any issues and or problems which are still facing by a common man. If one can decide, can do it in one go. What is important is the “Will to get it done”.
> Trust based governance:-
- It would not be exaggerated to say that “Corruption is in our blood and it is our birth right.” Using artificial intelligence and or digitization cannot completely throw out corruption. Corrupted mind people always find loopholes in the system. So along with these digitization measures, we must work upon and train people minds first.
> Green growth:-
- Mangrove plantation along with coastline:-
- Under the name of development, many trees were already cut in the cities. Fifty to hundred years old were cut in one shot. Only a person with a human heart can feel the pain. We are still lacking in maintaining what we have.
- Electric vehicles:-
- Before creating sufficient charging stations and other support services, numbers of electric vehicles are out there in the market.
> Youth Power:-
- Covering new courses like coding, artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing:-
- What about rural youth who don’t have basic access to computers and or technology. Same is the case with government schools. One or two computers for a hundred students. What change as a common man wants to experience, is here.
- Boosting tourism sector by selecting few destinations to be developed as complete package for domestic and foreign tourist:-
- Both the central as well as state government must act together in maintaining and enriching the situations of all historical monuments. In the state of Maharashtra all the Forts of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj except few are in such a bad situation that we should feel ashamed of ourselves. So the need of the hour is before creating a new tourism hub, first look upon how these beautiful monuments can be developed and maintained.
> Financial Sector:-
- Setting-up National Financial Information Registry to enable efficient lending:-
- As I said above earlier that we must work upon and train people minds then only we can expect less fraud environment. Whatever you set-up, unless we train peoples minds, we cannot stop frauds in lending and or in other areas.
- Mahila Samman Bachat Patra:-
- One time new small savings scheme for a two year period with a deposit of up to Rs.2 lakh for women having rate of interest 7.5% p.a. – not understanding the intention of the government behind such a proposal. There are already many other schemes out there. If the rate of interest would have been around 10% then it may make sense.
> Reaching the Last Mile:-
- I purposefully kept this point at last to discuss. The reason is whatever government is bringing for the common man, whether that reaching to the root or not is to be seen in everything. This is very much important and should be acted upon and keep constant check too.
- Whatever Government is proposed to provide, it’s their prime and foremost responsibility to check whether all these benefits are reaching to common man or not. And I think here what the major loophole is. Most of the proposals are recorded on papers but do not reach to the last mile.
> Last but not the least enhancing rebate to salaried class to have no tax till the income of Rs. 7 lakh:-
- If we see, after introducing Goods and Service Tax (GST) a common man is paying tax on both of his or her income as well as on his or her expense. That is Income Tax is tax on Income and GST is tax on purchases i.e. nothing but an expense. Therefore, the government is collecting tax on income as well as on the expense of a common man. So enhancing this rebate is not a big deal at all. If the government is collecting GST on and from every item with few exceptions, collecting tax on income should be completely phased out.
- As in GST there is no income concept, the same item can be purchased by Rich as well as poor with same amount and with same GST.
I think I will stop here as unless any government reaches the last mile practically, the topic doesn’t have an end.
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