For any government, presenting a budget at the end of each financial year is always a Herculean task. As it is next to impossible to please all because everyone wants to benefit from it in one way or other. No one is ready to contribute happily to the public exchequer which is dependent on the different modes of tax collections. Be it in the form of a direct or an indirect tax. Finance Minster who remains at the centre stage at this point of time comes under heavy pressures from all sides. He has to decide where to spend or where not to spend this hard earned money of the people of which he is a trustee.
Arun Jaitly who part from being a reputed senior Supreme Court lawyer, has done his specialization in the income tax law and has done his job pretty well by presenting a farmer friendly budget. BJP government ever since it has come to power has presented its third budget in a row. It was so far being branded as pro corporate sector government because nothing at all had been done to improve the plight of the farmers who are considered to be the back bone of the Indian economy.
It has so far been quite lucky that the oil prices in the international market have dropped from soaring 135 to 35US $ a barrel and despite of economic meltdown elsewhere Indian economy is growing at a fairly good pace.
But what is worrying for the present government at centre is that on domestic front inflation is up and because of that prices of essentials like vegetables and pulses have gone up considerably. And the common people are finding it hard to keep their households running at the current price index.
Main focus of the budget this time round has been investment that has been made in the agriculture sector. Finance Minster has promised that in the remaining years it will continue to remain a priority for the BJP government and as a consequence thereof the income of common farmers will get doubled in another few years time.
A step in the right direction and a move that has taken everyone by surprise as up till now the present government was up till now being blamed for being pro corporate sector and was not doing anything for the betterment of the rural poor.
This sector in the past so many decades has grown phenomenally and contributed in improving of the national economy in a big way. But the farmers affiliated with this were showing signs of great distress because of draught like situations at some places and overproduction at the other places. This even would force many farmers to commit suicide. As the farmers were not in a position to recover their investments they were making in the form of their time, labour and money.
One aspect of this growing problem has been addressed by providing for a crop insurance scheme by the government ahead of this budget. But the other aspect of the matter that remains to be redressed is what to do when because of overproduction they are forced to sell their produce of their share hard-work at throwaway prices or it get wasted for the reason that they find no buyers at all for it. To overcome this social problem of a serious magnitude there has to be a policy in place where under government shall have to intervene and buy their surplus produce at reasonable prices so as to ensure that at least they are able to get back their own investment and the loans they have to raise for producing those crops.
Corporate Sector in India has come up in a big way now and proved a great success. It has proved its worth as a main employer and does not need much government support now as the farmers need it. All they want is that the government should ensure that they get a hassle-free atmosphere to grow to meet the upcoming challenges to compete in the global market and that is all.
(J.H.Reshi is practicing lawyer at J&K High Court at Srinagar)