The biggest surprise in the Arun Jaitley budget is that there is no surprise. Over the years, one has heard the learned Finance Minister Arun Jaitley talk about inflation and the suffering common people so many times. . Yet, when it came to his turn to do something, it is regrettable that he did nothing. In fact, prices started rising strongly and the government seemed helpless. The lack of a direction and time table to control prices has led to deep disappointment. In fact, the Government seems to have blamed the weather for everything and say we cannot do anything about the Monsoon.
a. The government has continued with the Service Tax which earns nearly 1.4 lakh crores per annum. It would have been better if the Government taxed the richer sections directly and raised revenue directly and openly. The Service Tax has fallen equally on the billionaires and the poorest of the poor. The tax hurts the poorest sections more. The Government should have the courage to levy more taxes on the rich and use the Income tax method instead of levying taxes on the middle classes.
b. The Finance Minister has also stuck to the old figure of reducing Fiscal deficit to 4.1%, though he does not say how he is going to do it. He simply says that he expects the tax revenue to be more this year and will exceed the targets. Obviously, if the taxes are not upto expectations, then we can expect increases on taxes on goods sued by the common man.
c. The foreign exchange earnings of Indian workers in the Middle East and other countries is what sustains the economy of this country. Nearly 30% of all foreign exchange earned by India is by their remittances. Yet, government has not introduced any insurance scheme or any financial benefits for those who actually sweat for our country. The big industry and business, which is now allowed to invest abroad in houses and take their wealth to foreign countries is doing so only because of Indian workers abroad. Yet, Government has been silent on their problems. . Recently, thousands of Indian workers returned in distress and suddenly from Iraq and other countries, losing their jobs and investments. The Government could have noted their plight and done something for them in the budget. But there has been only eloquent silence from our eloquent Finance Minister. The budget is silent on the contribution of workers .Yet; we note that government will not hesitate to take up issues if it affects industry or business.
While the Budget ahs many positives, the Finance Minister should review the concept of Service Tax which falls equally on all. This is a very retrograde measure and has been siphoning away the money of middle classes, which could have ended up in savings or more productive investments.