Shankar Acharya: Priorities for Budget 2015-16 | Business Standard Column

Shankar Acharya: Priorities for Budget 2015-16 | Business Standard Column

Definitely, coming from
the former CEA to GOI, the article “Priorities for Budget 2015-16”(BS, February 12)
will have to be taken cognizance of by those who are, as of now, putting
together ideas and figures for Budget, FY-16. The four priority ‘dimensions’
identified and the six ‘best ways of enhancing tax revenues’ included in the
article by the author who was and is part of the country’s think tank could
proactively support the healthy debate on the public expectations from the
February 28 budget started off by PM Modi by his interaction with elite
economists and other stakeholders in the India growth story, on the eve of the
first meeting of NITI Aayog.
With the replacement of
the Planning Commission with NITI Aayog, the
annual budget speech will have to double up as a vision document stating the
Centre’s view about the overall economic development of the nation, besides its
assigned role of explaining the rationale for the taxation policy for the year
and the allocations for various purposes.
The article is silent on
social expenditure except for a passing mention of public health basketed with
roads, ports, electricity transmission and defence identified as sectors
eligible for higher expenditure. If the new government fails to bring back the
focus to agriculture and rural development, employment generation, social
security including taking adequate care of its own employees who have been
deprived of an existing pension scheme, mapping of national resources for
productive use and drawing from buffers created in the past few years in
various private and public pockets under various pressures this year, present
indications are that things can get out of control at  a later stage.

M G Warrier,
Additional comments posted on February 13 This refers to hemen parekh’s reply to P V Rajeev’s comment. Perhaps by mixing up several ingredients of the common man’s frustration with electoral politics, Parekh has drawn a blurred picture. If facts, fiction and frustration get bottled together, the reader may just skip. We are going through a transition and in the history of a country, when such transitions happen, it is difficult to assess the impact or predict the future with any accuracy. The debate must go on. As regards the views about the recent political developments, allow mw to share my view about 2014 General Election and the 2015 Delhi election: “Delhi Elections-2015, is an affirmation of the people’s intolerance of the wide gap between preaching and practice by political leadership which was first demonstrated in Elections-2014. Though we need not underplay the roles played by Modi and Kejriwal in the two elections, one is tempted to believe that ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ have woken up from a long slumber and have decided to play the role expected of them by the writers of Indian Constitution. Till 2013, elections in India were won or lost on the basis of money power and/or slogans which had mass-burial post-elections. In this context 2014 general election and 2015 Delhi election stand out and their relevance as ‘vote for change’ and ‘vote for honest politics’. The role of money in elections need be reduced. Also, there is a felt need to bring some sanity in the sources and uses of resources mobilised by political parties.”


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