Budget caters to interest of corporates, ignores common man: JIH President

TCN News

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) President Syed Sadatullah Husaini on Tuesday described the Union Budget 2021 as one that caters to the interest of corporates and not the common man.

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In a statement, he said, “The eve of this budget has been unique. The nation is moving away from the hard times of the year-long pandemic and the economy is expected to move forward. Past one year has taught us to be extra conscious about the primary needs of human beings, the common man, regarding health, food employments and earnings. In this background, a fresh look is required about the model of economic development we are following. The Budget 2021-22 was one such event which, it is feared, has not been capitalized.”

Highlighting the positive aspects the JIH President said, “a positive feature of the budget is that further steps have been taken in the area of plugging in loopholes in revenue collections. The proposals for faceless appeals of taxes, pre-filled income tax return forms, the methodology of gradually doing away with provisions of numerous tax deductions and exemptions are steps in this direction. We welcome the moves for further simplification in tax regimes.

But on the flip side, he said, “At such an unusual time of extreme economic stress, it was widely expected that some special assistance and cash transfer packages would be provided to the poor people of the country. This was badly needed to uplift them and also to help the overall economy by boosting demand.”

Husaini added that, “There is a dire need for assistance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). But there is nothing in this budget to help and improve their condition. In the social sector, there has been a huge cut in RE compared to BE 2020-21. The same cuts are being carried forward into BE 2021-22.”

“We welcome the increased allocation for public health but even now our health expenditure will be below 2% of GDP that is the lowest among major economies. The budgetary allocation for education has been slashed in comparison to the budgetary outlay for FY’21. This is not appropriate at a time when our education sector is highly stressed. This amount seems low given the current situation where we want to play a leading role in the field of education,” he further said.

The JIH said that, “With a very high fiscal deficit, we are burdening our next generations with debt. Our policy for taxing income and other forms of cess and taxation is also not in favour of the people.”

Commenting on the budgetary allocations, Husaini said, “The increase in expenditure is welcome as it was badly needed at this time. But there are two issues. One, the expenditure is biased towards corporate-friendly infrastructure boost and much less on social sectors and two, the revenue being collected is either through borrowings or disinvestment. Disinvestment has received a huge boost from Rs 32,000 crore to Rs 150,000 crore. There is a substantial cut in the revenue projected from corporate tax. At this juncture, it was the responsibility of big corporates and rich individuals to take the burden of poor people; more so because they were the main beneficiaries of the collapse of the informal economy during the lockdown. Measures like Wealth Tax and Covid Cess were also being speculated. But the budget has disappointed by shifting the whole burden of economic slowdown to common people. Another concern area of the revenue model is its shift from the federal spirit of our constitution. States’ share is being cut. The proposed agricultural infrastructure cess on oil prices is also an encroachment into states’ share.”

Hussaini said that the Constitution of India has envisaged a welfare state. “At the time of such a crisis, the constitutional obligation was to come out with policies that help the poor and revive the economy,” he added.

The JIH president said that it is high time to consider the structural changes in the economy by encouraging equity and discouraging debt, adding, “Indian economy needs equity-based demand generating approaches.”