TODAY -

Budget : Full, half or quarter?

Free Thinker *



One gentleman says it is full; another says it is half; a drunk standing nearby raised his voice and said, “it is only quarter Sir, these days it is difficult to afford either a full or half, best is quarter, it is affordable and can be devoured with ease but to manage a full is not easy even financially”. The first gentleman retorted, hi bro, we are discussing budget not liquor. The drunk recused himself murmuring, I thought they are discussing prohibition and affordability of drinks.

One quondam finance minister says, in a tenure of 5 you can consume only 5 full, and towards the end a quarter is allowed; not more than that. If you consume full 6 in a term of 5, that is beyond convention, if you consume more you may suffer from cirrhosis. But the gentleman might have forgotten that his party also did consume almost a full after their fifth.

All freebies are acceptable for all and sundry. Anything free is more than welcome for the poor and wretched; whether it is in cash or in kind no voter bothers. Someone who half-heartedly heard the budget said, ‘up to 5 lakhs there will be no income tax’.

Many became so happy that it is going to be tax free for 5 lacs. By afternoon everyone started grumbling, tax free only for those who earn up to five lacs. Those who are earning more than 5 lacs a year are supposed to pay tax as usual. The euphoria created lost in thin air. However, those people who have an annual income of 5 lacs or less, need not pay income tax. This will benefit millions of voters in the country. It is only a trailer, have patience, by July many more are likely to come.

One ox-farm report says that only one percent of the population is controlling more than 50 % of the total wealth of the nation. It is not at all a negative report; it is certainly a very positive report; such info will inspire millions of people to struggle to get themselves included in that one percent. Many have tried and fled and many are still trying, I believe.

Sometime I dream like a socialist who believes in somewhat equal distribution of wealth. Can we have upper limit for owning properties or wealth., like the land ceiling type? Or Can we introduce a greed tax? It may be construed as a conspiracy against liberal democracy or liberal capitalism.

I am not a student of economics, I really don’t know whether such a policy will hamper India’s progress towards becoming a $3 trillion economy by 2030. Rupees 6000 per year to the farmers having cultivable land up to 2 hectares is really a good move. It will certainly bring some relief to the small and marginal farmers who are also voters.

But what about tenant or landless farmers; are they not voters? Picture abhi baki hai dosh. Rupees 3000 pension scheme for unorganized workers who had a monthly income up to 15000, is again a great benevolent step. Whether we have the reliable data for these voters? Anyway, we will find a way out to deliver it to the deserving ‘workers’.

Unemployment is rampant in the world; in Manipur also, the number of educated unemployed has already crossed 7 lacs; in addition, we have huge underemployed population in the farm sector; seasonal unemployment in agriculture and construction (monsoon factor) is humongous.

What to do? Govt. does not have the Magic Lamp; but an environment and infra structure can be created for mass employment generation in the field of organic farming, multiple farming, fishery, poultry, solar energy (sunlight in abundance), horticulture, cannabis business or local brew industry (legal sanction required for both) etc.

We can try an untrodden route; let us send a few hundred students to Japan/South Korea/US/China for training and specialization in AI and microchips for use in mobile phones, robotics and hi-tech computers. Till they return, in the meantime, let us open the eastern gate wide enough for free flow of IT ingredients/hardware etc. from ASEAN countries.

Then, Moreh and Imphal can be developed as IT/mobile hubs comparable to Hyderabad or Bangalore or even Silicon Valley in the next 5 / 6 years. We can bet on the skill and versatility of our children, once they are trained, they can beat the best in the world. Let’s give our children a chance.

No budget, either Union or State, either full or interim can help us until and unless we are in a position to help ourselves in generating more income/resources; forget about the expenditure, we are experts in spending. Today the most pertinent question is – how long we remain as parasites? If we have the will and determination no one can stop us to become economically independent or even vibrant and prosperous.

Then, there will be no need to wait for full or half or quarter, we shall always remain intoxicated with Kyat or Yuan or Dollar.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on February 08 2019.



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