Press Trust of india

Budget reveals grim situation, poor becoming poorer: CPI(M)

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New Delhi: The interim budget reveals the “grim” economic situation confronting India’s working people and the government’s idea of development is making the rich richer and the poor poorer, the CPI(M) alleged on Thursday.

In a statement, the Left party said while the actual budget for 2024-25 will be the responsibility of the new government and Parliament to be formed after the 2024 general elections, the revised figures for 2023-24 reveal that expenditure in social sectors has “gone down”.

This will impact future growth, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said.

Despite the “tall claims” made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about the state of India’s economy, the interim budget for 2024-25 reveals “the grim economic situation confronting India’s working people and the vicious face of the (Narendra) Modi government’s conception of development that is designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer”, it said.

The CPI(M) said that “though the revenue receipts in 2023-24 exceeded the budget estimates and grew by 13.3 per cent compared to the previous year, the central government expenditures have been squeezed below budget estimates in order to reduce the fiscal deficit”.

“These expenditures have grown by only seven per cent, less than even the nominal growth of GDP, which is officially expected to be 8.9 per cent. This shortfall in expenditure has taken place despite the establishment expenditure of the government being higher than budgeted,” the party said.

It said that “the axe has, therefore, fallen on expenditures on welfare schemes as well as on capital expenditure”. This, the party, said will negatively impact future growth and economic fundamentals.

The expenditure in several sectors such as agriculture and allied activities, education, health and social welfare, schemes like the PM Krishi Sinchai Yojna, and umbrella schemes for SCs, STs and other groups have been kept below budgeted levels, the CPI(M) alleged.

“The revised expenditures on PM Awas Yojna, PM Gram Sadak Yojna and PM Poshan are not only lower than budgeted, they are even less than the expenditures in 2022-23. Schemes specifically for women and children have also seen a reduction on both counts,” it said.

“This lower spending in 2023-24 than in 2022-23 has also encompassed heads that include fertilizer and food subsidies, MNREGA and urban development. Food subsidies have seen a cut of Rs 60,470 crore between 2022-23 and 2023-24 while fertilizer subsides have come down by Rs 62,445 crore,” the party claimed.

The expenditure on MNREGA in 2023-24, it said, was Rs 4,806 crore, less than in the previous year.

The CPI(M) alleged that the interim budget “exposes the hollowness of the bombastic claims of the Modi propaganda machine of real social justice incorporating working people as partners in growth”.

“This budget carries forward the vicious development model of the Modi government which squeezes the livelihood of the vast majority of India’s working people to favour the maximisation of profits for the few,” it said.

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