I cannot recall in recent years any case of police firing on voting day during elections resulting in 4 deaths.
It is a case of a failure of leadership and management of the deployment of security personnel. Who should bear responsibility?
The EC should be held responsible because it has made large scale transfers and postings of senior police officers in West Bengal.
The polarisation of society that is taking place in West Bengal, thanks to the BJP, is the gravest tragedy that has befallen that state.
I cannot believe that the land of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Ishwar Chander Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose Satyajit Ray and Dr B C Roy can fall prey to the virus of communalism.
Anyone who claims the legacy of these great leaders — as I proudly do — should shun and fight communalism.
India abstained from voting on the Resolution on Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council.
This is a gross betrayal of the Tamil people and their unanimous sentiment and desire.
The people of Tamil Nadu must and will punish the AIADMK- BJP alliance for this grievous blow to the interests of the Tamils.
If Dr S Jaishankar was forced to instruct India’s representative to abstain from voting on the Sri Lanka Resolution in the UN Human Rights Council, he should resign in protest against the betrayal of Tamil interests.
Special Congress Party briefing by Shri P Chidambaram and Shri RS Surjewala via INC India :
Finance Minister deceived people of India, especially poor, working class, migrants, farmers, industrial units that had been closed down permanently, those who had lost their jobs, both regular & informal & are still looking for jobs
FM deceived those who were listening to her, especially MPs, who had no clue she had imposed cess on a large number of products including petroleum & diesel: ₹2.5 on petrol/ltr, ₹4.00 on diesel/ ltr is a cruel blow to average citizen, including farmers
It was a vengeful act against the thousands of farmers who took out the longest tractor rally in history. It was also a cruel blow to federalism because the states do not get a share of the revenue from cesses
FM in her speech, didn’t mention Defence, as if Chinese had vacated occupied Indian territory. She didn’t mention that Defence expenditure in 2021-22 will see no rise. It is ₹ 3,47,088 cr, same as ₹ 3,43,822 cr in current year
FM gave a figure of ₹ 2,23,846 cr for Health, breathtaking rise from current year BE of ₹ 94,452 cr. It was a conjurer’s trick. She added one-time vaccination cost- ₹ 35,000 cr & Finance Commission grants amounting to ₹ 49,214 cr
She also included allocations to Department of Water & Sanitation. Shorn of these add-ons, allocations for Health were ₹ 72,934 in 2020-21 and ₹ 79,602 crore in 2021-22. Given inflation, the increase is practically nil
On pg 10 of Budget at a Glance, two numbers are ₹ 82,445 cr & ₹ 74,602 cr which means a reduction in expenditure from current year level. What kind of additional health infrastructure can be built with this parsimonious allocation?
Hence, on the two non-negotiables that the Congress party had listed on 28th January (at the Press Conference), the government has miserably failed the people of this country
The fiscal numbers show that the fiscal situation is in a mess. The Revenue Deficit (7.5%) and the Fiscal Deficit (9.5%) in the current year have exceeded every prediction, including the government’s
In 2021-22 the govt estimates it will borrow about ₹ 3.42 lakh cr less, but nobody is willing to believe the govt. The ‘borrowing’ number has been under-stated by assuming that there will be disinvestment revenues of ₹ 1.75 lakh cr
Govt has also assumed that tax revenues will increase by 15%, another questionable assumption. RD (5.1%) & FD (6.8%) numbers for 2021-22 will send alarm signals to rest of the world, especially investors & international lenders
Apprehensions should have been allayed by laying out a credible fiscal correction path, year by year, until the year when the FD will be 3% or less. On the contrary, her target was 4.5% by 2025-26. Investors and lenders will bristle
It was expected that there will be a significant increase in govt expenditure to offset private investment & private consumption. Numbers show that total govt expenditure will see a paltry rise from ₹ 34,50,305 cr to ₹ 34,83,236 cr
Farm Sector has been shortchanged. Budget allocation form ‘Agriculture & Allied Activities’ has been reduced from ₹ 1,54,775 cr (BE) to ₹ 1,48,301 cr (BE). Of total expenditure, proportion has been reduced from 5.1% to 4.3%
Budget allocation for Market Intervention Scheme & Price Support Scheme has been slashed from ₹ 2000 crore to ₹ 1501 crore. Budget allocation for PM Kisan Samman Nidhi has been reduced from ₹ 75,000 crore to ₹ 65,000 crore
MSMEs dismissed in a sentence: allocation of ₹ 15,700 cr. Nothing to be done to revive closed units or to recover millions of lost jobs. FM seems unaware that thousands of MSMEs- esp. micro & small units have been closed permanently
A meagre sum of ₹ 20,000 cr has been set apart for recapitalisation of Public Sector Banks. Govt also intends to privatise two PSBs. Govt’s intent is clear: let PSBs bleed slowly so they can all be privatised in the short term
Tax reliefs, tweaking provisions of tax laws completely by-passed tax paying working class and middle class. Each one of the measures announced by the FM will benefit only the taxpayers among the richer classes
There was no cut in GST rates. Mess of multiple rates remains. Saga of protectionism continues. Customs duties have been increased on a number of items with wrong belief that a stiffer dose of protectionism will help Indian industry
FM paid special attention to poll bound states, announced large capital outlays for Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal & Assam. People are no fools, they know expenditure will happen after scheme approval & over a period of several years
FM promised a Budget “like never before”. Her mandate was to present an annual statement of revenue & expenditure for 2021-22. What she did was to estimate expenditure over 2 years or 3 years or 4 years or, in one case, over 5 years
FM made a reference to Hon’ble PM 14 times, to farmers 11 times. 40 minutes before she read para 141, Bloomberg put out FD & RD numbers for 2020-21! Budget was a let down like never before. Budget, like the previous one, will unravel sooner than you think
The best decision taken by the government is the decision not to print the Economic Survey
Once upon a time, the Survey was the vehicle to communicate to the people in simple language the state of the economy and the prospects in the coming year
Now, the Survey has apparently a different purpose, although the purpose is not clear
Will someone please explain to me the meaning of the sentence “(Granger and Newbold) also illustrated that the regression residuals are likely to be autocorrelated, as evidenced by a very low value for the Durbin-Watson (DW) statistic”?
All this in aid of the self-congratulatory conclusion that government implemented “far sighted policy response for economic recovery” !
The most frequently used word in the Economic Survey is “regression” The current government has taught us the meaning of “recession” When you learn the meaning of “recession” and “regression”, you will qualify to be included in the team to write the next Economic Survey
As regards economy, what needs to be done to stem decline & accelerate recovery have been identified by a number of economists, including those who have supported the Modi government in the past. We believe that the following steps need to be taken :
Impart a large fiscal stimulus to economy, even if it is belated. Such a stimulus alone will put money in people’s hands & stimulate demand.
2. Make direct cash transfers to 20-30% of families at bottom of the economy at least for a period of six months
3. Formulate & implement a rescue plan for MSMEs to revive closed units, recover jobs that were lost, create new jobs for those who have moderate education & skills.
4. Reduce tax rates, especially GST & other indirect tax rates (e.g. on petrol & diesel)
5. Increase government capital expenditure
6. Recapitalize public sector banks immediately and encourage them to lend without fear of investigative agencies probing every loan.
7. Abandon protectionist policies, re-engage with world, have bilateral trade agreements with many countries, remove bias against imports
9. Review & rescind amendments to tax laws that have been widely viewed as tax terrorism
10. Initiate a comprehensive & time-bound review of regulations made by RBI, SEBI, TRAI, CERC, other regulatory agencies that have been regarded as over-regulation
We have no expectations from the govt. Our effort is to highlight policies, incompetent economic management & missed opportunities. If even a part of the agenda that we have set out is accepted by govt, we shall be happy & relieved for sake of Indian people
Special Congress Party briefing by P Chidambaram, Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh :
The Budget for 2021-22 will be presented four days from now. The Congress party wishes to place before the people its assessment of the year that will conclude on 31-03-2021 and a list of things that need to done in 2021-22.
We have no expectations this govt will accept our assessment or heed our diagnosis & prescription for economy. We know this govt is exceptionally obstinate, impervious to good advice, uncaring about calamitous consequences of its economic policies.
The Budget for 2020-21 began to unravel within weeks of its presentation. The Congress party had, even at that time, pointed out that the assumptions behind the Budget were wrong and the targets set were unattainable
Even without pandemic, economy would have continued on downward path that began in first quarter of 2018-19 and continued for eight successive quarters. The pandemic pushed economy into an abyss: -23.9 per cent in Q1 of 2020-21 and – 7.5 per cent in Q2
The current Finance Minister has the distinction of presiding over the first recession in four decades.The year 2020-21 will end with negative growth. None of the numbers estimated at the beginning of the year will be achieved
Revenue targets will be missed by a large margin, capital investment will take a hit, revenue deficit will near 5%, fiscal deficit will exceed 7%. No point in wasting time over Budget 2020-21. It was a disaster at the start it’ll be a catastrophe at the end
We are afraid that the FM will present a dressed-up Revised Estimates for 2020-21 and attempt to build an attractive narrative for 2021-22. The RE for 2020-21 will be a set of false numbers and, therefore, the BE for 2021-22 will be a conjurer’s illusion
We believe that the reality is-
the economy is in a recession, the recovery will be slow and painful, and the rate of GDP growth in 2021-22 (in constant prices) will be modest, no more than 5%
current unemployment rates- rural- 9.2%, urban- 8.9%. Unemployment level in 2021-22 will remain high, most jobs lost will not come back, new jobs creation rate will be low. Wage cuts in organised sector may be restored, real wages will not grow in 2021-22.
agriculture will grow at a satisfactory rate if the government does not arbitrarily disrupt the sector with anti-farmer laws and retrograde import/export policies for agricultural produce
the industry sector will not attract huge investments because of low savings rate, inadequate credit growth, protectionism, crony capitalism, encouragement of monopolies, a climate of distrust and vindictive administrative actions.
services sector will achieve moderate growth as it’ll be technology-driven, but growth rate of jobs in that sector will be low
exports & imports will be in doldrums because of protectionist policies and the world economy not fully recovering in 2021-22
the current rates of inflation are high and painful, but it is likely that any further increase in inflation may be contained by rate hikes by the RBI
because of mishandling of economy & govt’s underwhelming response to pandemic, economic inequalities have grown. Oxford report- ‘Inequality Virus’ shows vast majority have lost incomes & livelihoods while a tiny few on top have multiplied their wealth.
Seven years of the Modi government have wrecked our economy and the prospects of high growth. Dr Arvind Subramanian, former CEA, described the period 2004-2010 as the golden years of the Indian economy
The equivalent period of 2014-20 has witnessed the slow but inexorable descent into a deep hole. The conclusion of a recent study by Brookings using IMF and World Bank data is humiliating but not surprising at all.
Biggest rise in poverty will be in India and India will overtake Nigeria and become the country with the largest number of poor people. That is the contribution of the Modi government at the end of seven years.
We don’t see a ‘V’ shaped recovery. We feel the recovery, slow & painful, will leave millions of households struggling to survive, it will resemble the letter ‘K’. As a result, inequality will increase. Those who are behind will be pushed back further
We recognize that there are some imperatives that fall outside economic management such as (a) increase in expenditure on health infrastructure and (b) increase in defence expenditure. We will support significant increase under both heads.
NITI Aayog’s Committee of CMs on Agriculture concluded its deliberations in September 2019 and gave its report After 16 months, the report has not yet been “presented” to NITI Aayog’s governing council! Why, nobody knows and nobody will answer!
Citing this as the reason, the RTI request of Ms Anjali Bhardwaj for a copy of the report has been rejected! Alice would have said “curiouser and curiouser”.
I salute Ms Anjali Bhardwaj for her tenacity and single-minded pursuit of information