On the Interim Union Budget

The Finance Minister’s speech presenting the Interim budget for 2014-15 has turned out as an electoral manifesto, with no effort to overcome current challenges faced by our economy. The fall in employment combined with the rise in prices of essential commodities will impose further severe burdens on the people, who are already groaning under severe hardships. 

Elementary education ranked 9th, higher education 12thin terms of rise in budget allocation. However, this is far from the requirement. The emphasis has been on implementing PPP Model even in higher and technical education, which inherently implies the menace of privatization and commercialization of education, thus contracting its access to only the rich. Our demand of expending 6% of GDP in education is far from being met, as millions of children continue to remain away from being enrolled in primary education. 

The UPA Government has also failed miserably in the creation of jobs. Over last 12 years, jobs have increased at an abysmal rate of 2.2% per year. Even in this budget, social schemes have been virtually ignored as we find gross reduction in budgetted expenditures, particularly in social sectors. The fiscal deficit has been contained through a severe squeeze in expenditures. In other words, through a budgetary contraction of the economy. Instead of expanding public investment, this Interim Budget only compounds the crisis by contracting the economy and imposing greater burdens on the people. 

Students’ Federation of India West Bengal State Committee expresses deep concern as the emphasis has been on attracting foreign investments, and not restricting unnecessary luxury imports is bound to make the Indian Economy further vulnerable to international speculative capital flows. 

20th February, 2014