By RK Sinha
It is a budget for all, a dream budget. There is hardly any sector which has not been addressed in the interim budget for the year 2019-20 presented by officiating Finance Minister Piyush Goel in place of Arun Jaitley who is in the United States for medical check-up.
Narendra Modi Government has given financial relief and monetary benefits in the budget proposals that are going to benefit middle class, farmers, defence, railways and many other sectors. Ask anyone how is the budget the answer is excellent. The middle class of the country has always complained in the past about income tax slab. The previous budgets did not consider the impact of inflation that eats into the income of individuals. The salaried class has always been made to pay income tax through nose. This year’s budget proposals for any individual having annual income of Rupees five lakhs or less will not have to pay any income tax.
The soul of the nation lives in villages of India. The nation cannot progress without progress of villagers. This vision is reflected in the budget proposals. The government has taken some major decision in the budget proposals that is going to benefit some 12 crore farmers of the country. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojhna will provide Rs.6000 per year to those farmers with holding of two hectares or less. The benefit will be directly transferred to the farmers account. It will cost the exchequer some 75 thousand crores that will be provided by the Centre.
The labour force has been neglected in the past. For the first time the budget proposals will bring smile to the work force of labourers and daily wage earners. The budget provides for bonus to all workers earning Rs 7000 to Rs. 21000 per month. Some ten crores workers stand to benefit from the scheme.
The budgetary allocation for Defence Forces was on the expected line. More than Rs. Three lakh crores has been provided for our Defence Forces. One should not forget that we are facing hostility from out two neighbouring countries.
Last year the budget provision for Defence forces was 2,95,511 crores. Though we have enhanced budget allocation for our Defence Forces still it is three times less than the defence budget of China. The United States of America spends 4 percent of its GDP on defence while Russia spends 4.5 percent of its GDP. Israel spends 5.2 percent of its GDP on defence. .
Pakistan is ahead of China in defence expenditure with 3.5 percent of its GDP whereas China spends 2.5 percent of its GDP on defence. Pakistan is always in the race to compete with India but it is always far behind in the race given the size of our country. Yet, it spends huge amount in procuring arms and munition at the cost of the people of Pakistan are living in poor condition.
Pakistan is economically backward. What Pakistan fails to understand and refuses to realise that it can’t compete with India no matter how much it spends on its defence forces. The previous war with Pakistan has proved this beyond doubt that India has always trounced Pakistan in the battlefield.
The Modi Government implemented long pending demand of One Rank One Pension for our Defence Forces. It has given Rs. 35 thousand crores to pensioners of our Defence Staff.
It is a welcome move to provide Rs. 1.58 lakh crores to Railways compared to Rs. 1.48 lakh crores in 2018-19 and Rs, 1.31 lakh crores in the year 2017-18. The fund is required to take the railway to areas where still there is no rail line.
The money is needed for the safety, renewal of tracks and advanced signal system beside electrification of railway track. With the ever growing number of railway passengers there is need to enhance capacity in trains by introducing new trains and increasing the frequency of existing trains. Cleanliness and catering are areas where special attention is needed.
The congestion of railway lines is one major factor for trains running late. This can be eased by laying new tracks. From the present up and down lines, railways should work for making four line tracks on trunk routes. The freight corridor that is for goods trains is already under progress.
Who does not want a roof over his or her head? Keeping this in mind the budget provides for affordable housing scheme. People with moderate income can afford to own a dwelling for themselves.
The budget proposals are pleasing to one and all.
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)