THE BUDGET 2012-13 presented on 14th March is an ingenious move to broaden the neo-liberal constituency by effectively exploiting middle class illusions with studied silence on the devastating inflation, unemployment and destitution suffered by the workers, peasants and broad masses of toiling people in the country.
The decision to reduce the whole subsidies to agriculture, Public Distribution System (PDS), social, welfare sectors to below 2 percent of GDP, and move towards direct cash payment in the name of targeting the recipients, are all intended to prune the subsidy bill as directed by IMF and World Bank. This will soon followed by decontrol moves and further rise in prices of petroleum products including diesel, petrol and cooking gas.
Step to raise personal income tax exemption limit to Rs. 2 lakhs and tax exemption to tax payers who invest up to Rs 10 lakh annually in stock market coupled with a host of privileges granted to Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs), reduction in corporate surcharge by 5 percent, granting of 49 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in civil aviation, etc. which are aimed at ballooning the corporate-speculative sector, are at the behest of crisis-ridden imperialist finance capital. Along with this increasing FDI in retail sector, infrastructure etc are sure to follow the budget. There is no effort to strengthen the resource mobilization on the part of the government by taxing the flourishing super-rich.
The budget shows an absolute reduction in direct tax mobilization by around Rs. 4700 crores. The net additional resource mobilization of Rs. 41000 crores comes from indirect taxes on the back of toiling people which also directly contributes to the rise in prices. There is no concrete proposal to deal with corruption and black money except high sounding sermons like bringing out a ‘white paper’ on it.. The increase in defence spending to Rs 195000 crores from the current year’s Rs. 165000 crores should be seen as part of the various arms deals arrived at with imperialist powers and in the context of the strategic defence agreements signed with US imperialism.The PPP/BOT scheme of road construction is further reiterated with the announcement of the completion of 8800 kms of national highways in this regard.
On the whole it is nothing but a continuation of the last budget which led to more inflation, stagnation in the fields of agriculture and industry and unprecedented continuation of the price rise. While it tries to pamper the middle class, it conceals more than it reveals. This budget is going to intensify the attack on the masses reducing them to more poverty and destitution. It should be exposed and opposed by all popular forces without any let up.