Voice Of The People

Exclusive Interview on Union Budget 2017 with Jaiveer Shergill

The National Spokesperson for the Indian National Congress, Jaiveer Shergil, is interviewed by Pradip Bhandari, the Founder of Jan Ki Baat, about the Union Budget of 2017. Mr Shergil said that the audience was “expecting a blockbuster but ended up with a flop-show”. The reduction in the income tax percentage can only have a positive effect for the salaried classes if other indirectly related issues are taken into consideration- child allowance, medical bills, hostel allowance, all would continue to increase irrespective of the taxes. There also is missing in the draft the incentive for the middle and lower classes to invest, to save. The BJP has to bridge the gap between the input costs and the profit cost to help out the farmers; merely increasing the allocation for the agricultural sector not enough. Has the massively publicized Digital India campaign carved out space to include the farmers, asks Mr Shergil? Farmers of Chattisgarh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have been unable to sell their old produce due to demonetization and as a consequence, failed to buy seeds and raw material for the next season. Those that were selling perishable goods haven’t got any sort of compensation. This crippling of farmers under the BJP rule is quite saddening. About the youth, Mr Shergil believed, the budget has zilch to offer. The 7 year tax exemption for the startups that the government decided on has been applied, after filtration, to only 8 startups. As a consequence, 750 startups have been shut down. The problem lies in inability to transform skillset, training and education into real, salaried jobs. Mr Shergil also pointed towards the pending MNREGA payments and the numerous contractual labours that;ve been displaced as a result of. The budget’s “hunky-dory stories” will remain exactly that.

The Union Budget was presented by the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, in the Parliament. One of the most awaited budgets, it was keen on battling the image it had earned, post-demonetization, just a few months ago. It had to make space for many recent concerns, besides the usual allocations for infrastructure and developments. Opinions currently circulating the Budget are polarized, as any other issue.

The real question, as Mr Shergil asks, is what are the benefits for the lower and middle classes in the text of the Union Budget. What is said has find a physical manifestation of its aim, in order to emerge as a successful initiative. Will the fiscal year of 2017-18 enough for these changes to occur and be visible for the masses?


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