Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Editorial, 'NEED A PEOPLE'S BUDGET' in 28 February 2010 issue of LAW ANIMATED WORLD


The so-called budget for the Aam Aadmi presented with much fanfare by our Bengali Babu unfortunately has but little the common man can derive solace from. Truly, as the FM said, the budget is primarily a political document – an attempt at implementation of the political ideology of the ruling class. And that is but the continuation of Manmohanomics which started in our country since 1989 at the least. We find a lot of care and concentration to the needs and aspirations of the corporate and elite sectors but only eye-wash allocations for the development of the really needy ‘dumb millions’. While avowedly capitalist countries like the US, UK, European Community and even the ‘Asian Tigers’ allot so much of state funds to education and public health, it is shameful that we spend so little on these crucial sectors. The public education system is virtually in shambles with a go-by given to the neighborhood schools concept and blatant encouragement of private schools and colleges that gulp billions of hard earned savings of the middle and still lower classes in the country for a doubtful standard of education which never focuses on service and welfare of the people. For instance, out of the planned expenditure outlay of Rs. 3.73 lakh crores a mere Rs. 31,036 crores (less than 1%) has been allocated for school education in a country which can boast of more than 300 million illiterates. And a mere Rs. 22, 300 crores allocated for public health, in a country where street dogs freely roam in prime government hospitals and common people are fleeced by all strata of government employees to the verge of starvation and death. Instead of the virtues of compassion and public service, the get-rich-quick-at-any-cost mentality is being officially and even socially encouraged and the current LPG economy models are only worsening the mess. Unless real people’s budgets taxing the rich more and redistributing wealth with lion’s share in allocations to public education, public health and development of the rural and urban poor are submitted, and implemented in earnest, our Constitution with its noble ideals of justice – social, economic and political – would remain but a parchment, not worth a toilet paper even. 

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