Budget 2020: No big-ticket scheme, this is a political budget for vote bank

Published: February 3, 2020 2:50:10 AM

Budget 2020-21: The Survey has made calculations that by targeting network exports alone, 10 million jobs will get created in five years and over 20 million jobs in ten years.

Union Budget 2020 India, Budget 2020 IndiaBudget 2020-21: The Budget 2020 has failed to recognise, in explicit terms, the ‘emergent’ nature of economic situation and the worst phase of ‘employment scenario’ in the country.

By KK Jalan

Budget 2020-21: Much expected, the first Budget of the third decade of the 21st century is out. Because of impending elections in Delhi, everybody expected cuts in personal income tax rates. That has happened, though not to the expectations of the individuals or the economists who wanted the same for smoothening the demand side. A day before, the Economic Survey talked of job creation through strategic focus on exports. The Survey has made calculations that by targeting network exports alone, 10 million jobs will get created in five years and over 20 million jobs in ten years.

The Survey failed to note that the various governments in the past have also talked of copying the Chinese model but the bureaucrat-political setup which has lately become more difficult due to authority enjoyed by institutions such as CBI, ED, etc, does not allow replication of any model of this type. Thus, as has been noted in various newspapers, this scheme is probably unimplementable.

Various schemes — massive outlay for infra, development of airports, express highways, increasing track electrification, boost to agriculture sector money for industry —announced in the Budget are all expected to result in creation of jobs, but it also needs to be noted that these schemes are all ongoing schemes and any incremental employment will be minimal.

The Budget as well as Economic Survey have stressed on creation of entrepreneurship and resultant jobs but it has been seen in the past that these measures without any substantial investment have not resulted into job creation, especially the jobs needed by the crores of unemployed youth.

Further, as rightly noted by the Survey and also mentioned in the Budget, the ‘trust’ is the need of the hour and even if the government is genuinely interested, it will take long time to create the same.

The Budget 2020 has failed to recognise, in explicit terms, the ‘emergent’ nature of economic situation and the worst phase of ‘employment scenario’ in the country. Overall, a feeling is being given of total normalcy.

As happened last year, the Budget 2020 becomes a sum total of a large number of small announcement, some even not connected to any finance matter, such as raising of minimum age for marriage of women. The projected growth rate of 6-6.5% will take years to get the country near the $5-trillion economy.

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Overall, the Budget remains a political Budget as it successfully addresses all the necessary groups needed for vote bank.

The unprecedented low growth rate and slowdown in the economy needed at least one big-ticket scheme, especially for manufacturing sector, which would have given the required push to the employment generation in the country.

The writer is former MSME secretary

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