Editorial

Poll budget

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/29/2019 1:02:43 PM IST

 Former BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha has come out strongly against any move by the BJP government at the Centre, to present a full budget in February saying it would be “highly improper and utterly unconstitutional” since, by practice, debates continue days before budgets are introduced. Also, in a rare occasion, the finance minister Arun Jaitely will not be presenting the budget on account of being on medical leave. Piyush Goyal, the railway minister who is also looking after Coal, has been tasked with presentation of the budget. What Sinha said was in a situation when the government does not have time to present a full budget and if general elections are near. The union government requires an Interim budget to function in the months it takes for the new government to create its own budget plan. It is a practise for the government facing election to present an interim budget. The last interim budget was presented on February 17, 2014 by the then finance minister P Chidambaram. The Narendra Modi government’s last budget before the general election will focus on India as well as Bharat as it strives to win a second term in office. The interim budget, which is likely to be much more than a vote-on-account, will draw from precedents established by former finance ministers Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram, who did not shy away from introducing tax measures as part of stimulus packages, said a senior government official. The last budget of the Modi government is certain to contain many poll sops that Jaitley wasn’t too keen on in view of its adverse impact on the economy. With the economy not exactly at its best or as expected, the Modi government will be most interested to strike a chord with voters despite the hit the economy took from the midnight surgical strike on November 8, 2016. The pain was aggravated by adding of salt on the injury with the hastily implemented GST the following year. One that has hit the nation after demonetisation and GST is the agrarian crisis and the other is the loss of over one(1)crore jobs in 2018 which hit Modi’s campaign promise of providing 2 crore jobs a year. With the country going to the polls by April-May, the Modi government has to produce a rabbit out of the hat to offset the consequences of its many failures. The Modi government will have to resort to off-budget financing to meet their fiscal deficit targets for FY19. With less than a week to go for the interim budget, top sources indicate that the government could very well be staring at a revenue shortfall of close to Rs 1.5 lakh crore on account of shortfall in GST collections. The Modi government has returned back to emotive and divisive issues like the Mandir issue to regain its Hindu vote bank. It has also pushed the Citizenship (Amendment)Bill 2016 despite allies in north east being restless and in a rebellious mood. The tale of twists can be understood from how the Modi government explained its demonetisation as a ‘surgical strike’ against black money and terror funding. The real motive was to deprive political rivals of cash for the UP elections. Be that as it may, the budget attracts interest for the simple fact that Jaitley is most unlikely to present what could have been an opportunity to put icing on his cake.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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