By Vivek Sugandh:
As the Parliament’s budget season is round the corner, the expectations rise again. The year 2012 witnessed a terrible show of the UPA government which found itself stranded in a slew of scandals, shocks from coalition parties and the opposition along with certain unfortunate incidents that aroused the anger of the common people. India felt the heat of global pressures in the form of the ongoing European debt crisis and economic turmoil worldwide particularly in the US. Even the economic condition of our country was dilapidated as we, the 2nd fastest economy in the world, grew by 5.1% in 2012(World Bank index). Thus, as the budget season marks the new innings of the government, we expect some major reforms; it’s Chidambaram’s turn to make amends now.
Last year’s budget came as a disappointment for the people and now we long for some serious relief from the government. The common people of the nation are troubled with rising prices of essential commodities, mounting inflation and the recent shattering jolt in the form of hike in rail fares. To make matters worse, the policy paralysis and instability have come as a blow to us. All eyes will be on veteran P. Chidambaram who will be presenting the budget for 2013-14. Last year, after he replaced Pranab Mukherjee, he had definitely shown audacity in taking stiff measures to kick-start the economy which also reaped certain good results.
The question is what does a common person want? He does not build castles in the air and just wants that the government to discharge its duties effectively and work for the benefit of the public. People expect better allocation of funds in productive expenditures. The recently introduced cash transfer scheme which the government boasts of as a game changer looks promising but may fail because of poor framework. Tax reforms should be changed in favour of the middle class society. Government’s concerns over curbing fiscal deficit and making it fall to 5.1% are justifiable but the manner is under the scanner. Our politicians choose to increase burden on the public by reducing subsidies. India should curtail its heavy expenditures on defence and unnecessary ventures like Mars mission etc. Achieving a pinnacle in space is futile if the people of your country are leading a miserable life. India’s defence expenditure stands at 1.93 lakh crores as per the Budget 2012-13 which needs to be reduced. However, indications have come from the government relating to increase in prices of oil and petroleum which does not sounds good.
With the recent global recovery, it appears that the worst is over but still a lot will depend upon the budget as it would be the last weapon of the Congress to strengthen its chances again in 2014 polls. As a citizen of the nation, I just look for solace from the government in the form of people friendly measures, better governance and inclusive development. Although most of the times, we are let down but I still hope the budget comes as a silver lining. We can only expect for change and it has become clear that the platform is set but the question is “Are the leaders in power ready to face it responsibly or are they going to disappoint us by their cowardice”?