Will anti incumbency play a major role in the minds of the People of India to vote in favor of the present Government which is in POWER today. In the last Elections that were held the Congress practically swept all the major votes in the main Cities like Delhi, Chennai, Calcutta and Hyderabad. However they only won 22 out of the 115 odd seats contested in the Rural areas and States such as Jharkand, Chhatisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The circumstances prevalent for such an outcome could have been driven mainly by the record GDP growth that had hugely empowered the People.
However in the earlier times, (period 1998-2004) anti incumbency was rife at that time with the GDP growth averaging only 5.7% per year and the Poverty Reduction declined to approximately 0.75% per year. But then GDP Growth shot up to 8.5% per year during the reign of UPA-1, accompanied by Poverty Reduction which doubled from 0.75% to 1.5% per year. The comparison between growth and poverty proved false: Fast growth actually reduced poverty. Hence the old anti- incumbency was reduced by pro-incumbency, benefiting not only the UPA in 2009 but many other States too. A research (India Election Outcome and Economic Performance) showed that voters in 2009 were swayed less by National Economic performance rather than by accelerated State Government performance. According to CSO data GDP growth shot up between 2000-04 and 2004-09 from 4.5% per year to 12.4% in Bihar, from 4.8% to 10.2% in Odisha and from 6.1% to 9.7% in Chatisgarh. These were all Non- Congress States and voters gave credit for fast growth to Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik and Raman Singh and not to Sonia Gandhi.
Votes for Growth
Examining State GDP growth between 2004-05 and 2008-09 a study, divided the major States into three growth categories- High, Medium and Low (relative to National growth). In high-growth States, a whooping 85 percent of candidates of the incumbent State party won in 2009. The winning rate dropped to 50 percent in medium- growth States and 30 percent in low growth States. Clearly, fast growth mattered hugely. Other factors such as alliances, caste, regional pride, inflation also were very relevant. In the 2009 elections. All Congress men were sure that the farm loan waver and NREGA (National Region Employment Guaranty Agenda) had won them the elections. Most people at that time showed more obeisance to Sonia Gandhi who had backed these measures than cool analysis. When the Finance Minister now was queried why he had not repeated the 2008 strategy by introducing freebies like the farm loan wavers ,he replied that Congress won 2009 election due to the rapid economic growth and accompanied poverty reduction. He surely knew that today they could never buy an Election with freebies and Money Power!!!
Women Role and Development
There was today also a requirement for massive increase in spending, for Women Security and empowerment which was desperately required to be given in the National budget for Women Empowerment. The recent Gang rape and murder of young women in New Delhi prompted public protests which highlighted the poor treatment metted out to our Women. This to this day persists. What has the Government done so far? The Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll in 2012 rated INDIA the worst G20 Country in which a woman would want to live. From access to healthcare and education to land and property rights, from threats of physical and sexual violence and harmful customary practices such as female foeticide and ‘honor killings’, The Indian women faces a plethora of challenges.
There should have been more funds allotted to increase Policing on the streets as also a more vibrant Women Police Force to tackle daily incidents.
“The issue of safety is the starting point for everything. If you give safety and security to women, they will surely help themselves through using other means”. If our women when walking out of their homes do not feel safe, how can they educate themselves or even get jobs? The sad reality of our Country is that Politicians take the women’s vote for granted, and they don’t think that women’s vote independently matters, so they don’t pay attention to it. It is sad that our Finance Minister did not even meet any women’s groups in the run-up to the budget, in spite of repeated requests from various groups.
The proposition of a women-centric bank would surely enhance credit and channelise savings for women, not only in the vicinity but also in smaller Towns and Cities. The Finance Minister took a tough stand with the declaration of an Rs One Thousand crore for the Nirbhaya Fund. The Ministry of Women must come up with a plan on how to utilize these funds? Government must immediately spell out where these funds are to be utilized lest this amount also evaporates into thin air and lands in large pockets of Crooks who roam the Cities of India. In the wake of the rising crime rate, the Minister took a bold stand with the declaration of the money for the Fund but recent incidents have cast a long and dark shadow on our Credentials!!!
With the Government all geared up for the General Elections, the Finance Minister aims to concentrate on crucial issues concerning women’s development, health, scheduled caste welfare, farm credit, malnutrition, rural job scheme, water and urban development and other social and development concerns. Was he earlier snoozing, with the Power he had, had he to wait for so long or was it a deliberate action to delay measures for just before few months of the Elections?
1. Substantial food grains are lying in stock, far in excess of normal stocking levels. Why were these food grains not released in bulk thru PDS or any other Distribution system? 80 million tons are in stock, mostly rotting, where as normal buffer stock should be about 25-30 millions tons.
2. Much more investment is required to setup Primary Health Care Clinics/Hospitals in rural areas with Population exceeding 10,000 per Village. This investment can also come from compulsory CSR avocations that Corporates will now have to make good from their Profits, as per the next Companies bill. Giving more cash under the transfer scheme for NREGA etc will not help if no Healthcare facilities are available.
3. Tax regime and enforcement should not be aggressive and uncertain as to what they have to do. You cannot apply retrospective laws in today’s INDIA. We want more People to come forward, pay taxes and file returns genuinely. An aggressive attitude by the Government makes People evade taxes. I recommend that we must issue show cause notices to the Taxation department as to why the taxable income is at times over looked and for what reasons? This is a serious matter and is in the overall interest for improving the economy of our Country. Taxes and file returns must be Genuine.
4. It is worth considering whether this costly Budget Exercise must be carried out each year. Most of the decisions are seen to be administrative in nature and can be taken up during the course of the year as and when an amendment is required. This can be debated in both houses of Parliament and passed. It would be prudent that a report be tabled in Parliament presenting the Countries balance sheet as it exists which would contain the profit and loss account, current account, deficit, GDP and any other correction measure to smoothly continue during the course of the year. It would be noted that other Countries of the World are already practicing such a procedure take the example of USA, UK and other States.
5. All Corporates, including medium and small enterprises must contribute to their communities by involving in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility Programs). This would mean their participation in sharing the cost of prosperity due to aggressive tax collection, profits are invariably suppressed and the CSR suffers.
6. I would also suggest that the Government should have come out with a ONE TIME VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE SCHEME to unearth BLACK AND ILL GOTTEN MONEY. The last time the Government did it for Service tax payers only and if I recall approximately less than 1000 names came out after the one time reprieve. Was the Government in Power today worried for doing this just before Election time?
Tax Structure Super Rich
Tax on Capital Assets (loose money) was last done only in the 1977 Tax Reforms. The percentage was 10%, 20%, 30%. The super rich tax over 20% is applicable today and has a commonality to even salaried class people as also the TATA and BIRLA’s who also come up to the bracket of 30%. This is wrong. THE NEW SUPER RICH PEOPLE of India today must be made to pay a higher percentage than 30%. I believe that a tax information process is in progress and direct tax transfer on food and petroleum would be there. The tax slab for the Middle class should be a relief and a higher tax ratio for the Super rich should have been imposed.
Why does our price structure always goes up and up? Take the example of Edible Oil which we import from Foreign Countries. They raise their prices and the People of India pay for it!! Well Done.
The Private Sector and Corporate Donations to Political Parties must be taxed more so during the Elections. Some Parties become rich and there are others who even start a new Political Party and donate through them since there is no Tax involved.
If you consider the poor Farmer who grows Agricultural products, I am happy that he pays no taxes. Here also large holders of farm land over 10 to 15 acres take this benefit. If an Individual puts up a Food Processing unit that becomes tax free!! A stronger vigilance is required with a hawk eye. One will find that only 25% in this Sector are tax payers. Can’t we have a study and rationalize the system.
How to mop up Money
TODAY’S PARLIAMENTARIANS SITTING IN BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT AS OUR REPRESENTATIVES ARE PAID HEAVILY WITH TREMENDOUS ADDED FREEBIES WHICH COST THE NATION LACS AND LACS OF RUPEES EVERY HOUR WHICH BLEEDS THE PEOPLE OF INDIA. THIS MUST BE CURBED IMMEDIATELY. I RECOMMEND THAT EVERY WALKOUT IN PARLIAMENT MUST BE COMPUTED FOR EACH HOUR OF LOSS OF TIME WHEN THEY HOLD PARLIAMENT TO RANSOM AND DENY DISCUSSION WHICH THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO AS A DUTY ASSIGNED TO THEM BY THE ELECTORATE AND THE PEOPLE OF INDIA. Deduct their Salaries and plough back the money to the Exchequer. Where are we taking the Nation to? Their payments and perks must be deducted for doing nothing. They are wasting the precious Public money of the Tax Payer. One should hold his head in shame.
Unaccounted Black Money stacked outside the Country must be brought back and the individuals who have indulged in such Ghastly crimes must be given the severest of punishment.
The Finance Minister has assured that he will monitor the Budget every Quarter which would include the Private and Public sector Corporates. He has wisely laid down that each PSU will in the process be required to fill up their Performance Sheets as to targets laid down and achieved. To my mind monitoring is not the end it may not be relevant but if the FM also would reallocate or withdraw Funds after a discussion in Parliament that would be a good procedure for sharing this information with the Elected Representatives who can also air their views and take part in the discussion. Chidambaram also hinted that this would re-start the growth engine – What was the Government doing for the last 8 to 9 years? He blamed the Global crisis due to which India also was hit – Not a valid statement.
In fact the Finance Minister has done well-by taking the dying Patient who was in Hospital and admitting him in the ICU where he will be put on the Ventilator. India awaits the survival of the Patient failing which the Janta will insist to replace the DOCTORS and hunt for a New Hospital!!??
THE TIME HAS COME WHEN THE HAVES MUST PAY FOR THE HAVE NOTS AND POLITICAL FUNDING MUST BE TAXED AND EXPOSED. BRING BACK THE STACKS OF MONEY LAUNDERED ILLEGALLY AND DISTRIBUTE THE SAME TO THE POOR. “JAI HIND”