The general attitude towards this year’s budget has been quite similar to that of over the past few years: corporate enthusiasts are excited, middle classes are uncertain and puzzled and rest of the population is apathetic to varying degrees.
The underlying conclusion of this year’s budget is that of maintaining and extending the austerity measures, but to the magnitude that makes UPA look almost anti-capitalist. It proposes to abolish wealth tax and targets to reduce corporate tax from 30 to 25 percentage and also reduce direct tax by Rs 8,315 cr and increase the burden on “general public” through indirect tax hike of Rs. 23,383 cr.
I agree with Mr. Sitaram Yechury when he claims, commenting on the exceptions of budget’s gross tax revenues: “Expectations of ‘tax buoyancy’ by the financial minster is, hence, pure imagination”. But we are talking about corporate capitalism, Mr Yechury, “pure imagination” and fictitious capital is its live-blood.
There will be reduction in grants and loans to the states. Food subsidies will be sluggish. Health and family welfare will come down from Rs. 35,163cr (last year) to 29,653cr. Housing and urban poverty alleviation figures have dropped from Rs 6,008cr to Rs 5,634cr.
All this while the subsidies, “tax incentive” to the rich are more than the actual fiscal deficit. It should be quite clear that the deficit burden, for the most part, is due to subsidies to the rich, not the poor. In short, socialism for corporations and free market and its risks for the rest of the population.
It is also important to note that, “Taxing corporations and the rich would have consequences too, but they would generate far fewer social costs and fall mostly on those best able to cope with them.” (). Isn’t it quite obvious and why are all the measures that are being taken are exactly the opposite? And why can’t we do better than capitalism? Demand discussion, debate and democratic (in actual sense of the word) decisions – instead of being trapped by the invisible handcuff of capitalism?