TODAY -

Interim budget 2024 : Need for comprehensive reforms in health, education, and social sectors

Priyanka Saurabh *



The interim budget of 2024 is an administrative tradition because the full budget will come in July, on which the report card of the new government will be visible. There is a need to create an enabling environment for businesses to flourish, focus on environment-related issues, and upliftment of the marginalized section of society. Focus on the quality of development to ensure that development is equitable, sustainable, and green.

Instead of focusing on big schemes, the government needs to focus on comprehensive reforms in the health, education, and social sectors. While these are important schemes for the poor, it does not take away from the fact that health, education, and social security budgets are grossly inadequate, even as these services suffer from poor infrastructure, huge vacancies, and inadequate resources.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her sixth budget on February 1, where she focused on the government's wide-ranging achievements in the last 10 years. Since it is an election year the budget was not a full one, but a vote on account and did not include major announcements on the revenue or expenditure account.

An interim budget, separate from the regular annual budget, is presented in an election year (2024 is an election year for the Lok Sabha). Similar to the Union Budget, it is debated in the Lok Sabha and remains valid for the entire year (even though it is meant to serve as a transitional arrangement for about 2-4 months).

Commonly known as 'vote-on-account', it authorizes specific expenditures until the new government takes office. Article 116 allows the advance allocation of money from the 'Consolidated Fund of India' to meet immediate expenditure requirements.

The government did not make any changes in the income tax slabs in the last budget of its second term. Nor are any changes being made in direct or indirect taxes. As experts say, one should not expect too much from the election year budget.

However, if the government wanted, it could have given a list of populist cuts and benefits. Despite the fiscal deficit being estimated at 5.1 percent, the government will have to be prepared to bear the brunt of the announcements of free distribution, vaccination, benefits to farmers, expanding the scope of Ayushman Yojana, and providing free electricity.

This budget, which is inclined towards women, also focuses on their health. However, by not announcing MSP for farmers, the government seems to be failing to fulfill its guarantee. On the one hand, it argues that twenty-five crore people have been brought out of the poverty line, while on the other hand, it pats itself on the back for giving free rations to eighty crore people.

Overall this is an administrative tradition. In the last ten years, direct tax collections have more than tripled and the number of returns filed has increased by 2.4 times. Two crore more houses will be built in the next five years under PM Awas Yojana (Rural).

Although this interim Union Budget is not very expensive. Therefore, only time will tell how much public-private partnership will be promoted to strengthen development ambitions and meet budget commitments.

Both higher and school education got increased allocation in the budget and schemes like PM School for Rising India (PM SHRI) got almost 50% more allocation than the previous budget. The total allocation for the school education department is Rs 73,008.10 crore which is more than the previous allocation.

Critics argue that a large portion has gone into funding the PM-SHRI project which aims to upgrade existing government schools in the country and not allocate funds to enhance government schools. A major announcement in the budget relates to health coverage extension for ASHA and Anganwadi workers under the PM-Jan Arogya Yojana.

The allocation for the health sector has been increased from Rs 89,155 crore to Rs 90,658.63 crore. Experts in this field argue for the government to focus on non-communicable diseases, increase tax exemptions for preventive health care, and improve and upgrade the quality of subsidized treatments. The budget allocation for most social sector schemes and departments is more or less the same as last year.

Allocations for school and higher education as well as health and family welfare departments show a somewhat modest increase over last year's BE, around 6-8%. Although no new announcements of major schemes were made in the Budget, the Finance Minister highlighted that 25 crore people have been brought out of multidimensional poverty (MPI) in the last 10 years.

Experts argue that the MPI does not tell us about trends in income poverty, which is a useful indicator of economic well-being. The further claim that "people's average real income has increased by 50%" does not tell us much about how the lives of the poor changed because what matters is the distribution of national income.

Experts also argue that there has been modest growth in average rural worker income which is also reflected in poor growth in private final consumption expenditure. There has been a notable reversal in the structural transformation of employment, marked by an increase in the share of agriculture in total employment. This shows the lack of employment opportunities other than agriculture.

The recent increase in women's labor force participation rate over the past 45 years appears to be crisis-driven, as large numbers of women are engaged in unpaid family labor rather than gainful employment.

At the macroeconomic level, the Budget claims that in 2023-24, the central government has managed to ensure that its receipts, other than borrowings, are almost equal to the budget. It has met budgetary expectations concerning tax revenues and is also expected to grow its non-tax revenue receipts by 25% relative to the budget.

There is a need to create an enabling environment for businesses to flourish, focus on environment-related issues, and upliftment of the marginalized section of society. Focus on the quality of development to ensure that development is equitable, sustainable, and green. Instead of focusing on big schemes, the government needs to focus on comprehensive reforms in the health, education, and social sectors.

While these are important schemes for the poor, it does not take away from the fact that health, education, and social security budgets are grossly inadequate, even as these services suffer from poor infrastructure, huge vacancies, and inadequate resources.


* Priyanka Saurabh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at priyankasaurabh9416(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 06 February 2024 .



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #14 :: Book
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #1 : Gallery
  • Ensuring Fair Voting in Hills of Manipur
  • Dr Irengbam Mohendra's latest book :: Rvw
  • NDA has the advantage in both
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • L Rup's Robot 'Kangleinganbi' in Manipuri
  • Art- means of connecting hearts in Manipur
  • Is it Living Alive or Living Death ? :: Poem
  • Rabies - A preventable zoonotic disease
  • April 19, 2024: The blackest day of all
  • Ugly turns on voting day
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • The chasm between TB & HIV continues
  • Parliament and its Members
  • Kimchi for health and glowing skin
  • LS election with a difference
  • To vote, or not to vote ?
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamjao, Kakching
  • The Power of Poppy - 27 :: Poem
  • Mother Language based education essential
  • Modi's warriors wear regional hats
  • Nest Asia promoting Northeastern Cuisine
  • Now look beyond LS poll
  • The rot in the system
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laitonjam Warjeet
  • Community seed bank @Umathel : Gallery
  • 10 candidates cracked Civil Services Exam
  • Milk of Paradise: History of Opium : Rvw
  • How plastics find their way into our bodies
  • Condemning attack on Trucks along NH-37
  • Cong looking to buck the trend
  • Saving Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #2
  • Election Duty :: Travellog
  • 1st Nagas' Meet in Punjab
  • How to select right MP to represent Manipur
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Tejpur
  • Bats are Keystone species for the Planet
  • The '15 days' conundrum
  • Free but not so fair
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #30: Download
  • Before You Vote : My Rumbling Thoughts
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Kakching
  • Meiraba wins All India Sr tournament
  • Finding light in dark through my daughter
  • Navigating life's unreasonable expectations
  • Test of people's character
  • BJP's election manifesto
  • Athoubasingi Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Black rice & Glycemic Index
  • What Nadda should speak at Dimapur rally
  • Open Letter to CM Office Manipur
  • Meghalaya unveils Strawberry festival
  • Benefits of maths newspapers for students
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #1 : Gallery
  • Are you a good person ?
  • Physics Academy of NE : Executive Body
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Moirang
  • Cherrapunji Eastern Craft Gin launched
  • Cong on cautious path
  • Botox for Hair
  • Posers voters should raise now
  • The lull before the storm
  • 80th Anniv- Battle of Kanglatongbi @UK
  • Vir Chakra Ngangom Joydutta's bust unveiled
  • Hun - Thadou Cultural Festival : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Singjamei
  • Election Eclipses: Ballad of Battle & Loss
  • Our voices are equal at the ballot box
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Urgent Call for Solidarity in Manipur
  • Meitei Nongsha #2 :: An Artwork
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Waikhong
  • About NPF-BJP-NPP alliance & why ?
  • World Veterinary Day, 2024
  • The heavy stake behind the LS polls
  • The politics of lying & deception
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Hun-Thadou Cultural Fest @ Delhi: Report
  • Appeal to Parties & Candidates
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wangoo
  • Establishment of community seed bank
  • Awareness Programme on new Criminal Laws
  • Make a right choice at the Lok Sabha election
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #1
  • RIST talk-58 : Support systems of elderly
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Vote, do not boycott !
  • Lok Sabha election: A new dawn in politics ?
  • IIT-Guwahati Half Marathon report
  • Taking ST demand to the election ring
  • Lesson to be learnt from across border
  • Mirabai: Poised for Paris Olympics
  • Legal position for protection of environment
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Keisamthong
  • Heterocyclic compound & biochemical science
  • Inner, torn between two lovers
  • Certification Music Therapy Workshop
  • NOTA as a choice
  • Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #29: Download
  • World Health Day 2024
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangantabi
  • The Power of Poppy - 26 :: Poem
  • Fulbright Fellowship Outreach at Arunachal
  • Id-ul Fitr da namaz nattana..
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #13 :: Book
  • Lok Sabha election is coming, be prepared
  • 6th Hun-Thadou Cultural Festival
  • Let There Be Free & Fair Election
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamlong
  • Science magazines are important for student
  • Interesting choice of candidates
  • The power of We, the voters
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur #1
  • The Case for Amendment of Article 371-C
  • Meitei Nongsha #1 :: Artwork
  • Link between forest & conflict in Manipur
  • Final Call for Application MFA - Phase-2
  • ST for Meiteis call before elections
  • Passing the buck
  • Beating of the Retreat #1 : Gallery
  • Life of our Lives in Ethnic Strife Era! :: Poem
  • IIT-Guwahati annual Half Marathon
  • Follow up: European Parliament on Manipur
  • Yoga & Kegel exercise: Pelvic floor workout
  • Opting for the NOTA button
  • Yearning of the displaced people
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • 5th NE Women's Peace Congregation
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2024
  • Election fever grips Manipur despite unrest
  • Looking for a decent election hustings
  • Clock ticking towards voting day
  • An exemplary directive
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Memo to Election Commission of India
  • Easter & Holi echo in Nilgiris
  • Holiday Camp for children at JNMDA, Imphal
  • Zero waste is our moral responsibility
  • Elections & loyalty vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • Show of strength without unity
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2 : Gallery
  • Panthoi Chanu : 1st to play in Australia
  • Intensive labs in film preservation
  • Building bridges with books
  • Need of the hour: Political maturity
  • Accepting defeat before the election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #28: Download
  • April Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Natural packaging from bamboo : Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 25 :: Poem
  • Everyone has their own Bharat Ratna
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #12 :: Book
  • Demand- Manipuri as classical language
  • The Drummer from Odisha
  • Beauty benefits of lemon
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur's original Ponies : Gallery
  • Yaoshang & Dance of Democracy loom
  • Symposium on Jagadguru Shankaracharya
  • Choosing ITI as a campus after X
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Nabadwip Dham : Gallery
  • How oral health affects your pregnancy
  • Two faces of Holi
  • Prawaas 4.0, Multimodal Transport Show
  • A decade of development of higher education
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #1 : Gallery
  • Our Eternal Kangleipak :: Poem
  • Micro-livestock for livelihoods: For NE States
  • The fun of Holi used to be monotonous
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • About the "Meitei" community from Manipur
  • Unveiling the medicinal benefits of honey
  • The incalculable value of wildlife
  • Promises of true love
  • Trends, Alliances, & Challenges in Elections
  • Meitei Goddess Ngaleima : An Artwork
  • Water is the most precious gift of God
  • Bharat needs a strong 'India'
  • Transformation of railway stations
  • Not quite the final countdown
  • Missing of 'The Saffron' from electoral colour
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #27: Download
  • 3rd North East Games: Manipur champion
  • The Power of Poppy - 24 :: Poem
  • EBTC & JCRE signed MoU
  • Early Detection Program at Toubul
  • How Holi affects our mood & mental health
  • Lamta Thangja @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur cinema legacy shines at ARCUREA
  • The pulse of politics amidst conflict
  • Forest is most important vital organ of Earth
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Politics of naming candidates
  • Disappearing of spring from season cycle
  • Meira Paibis of Manipur
  • Demand for ST status by Meiteis
  • Project Personal Opening @Assam University
  • World Poetry Day at Manipur University
  • Green skills for sustainable world
  • Supportive interventions during exam time
  • Interesting run up to LS polls
  • Onus definitely on PM to restore peace
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #11 :: Book
  • Water, water everywhere ...
  • 21st March - A special day for Forest
  • RI imprisonment to Rapists at Silchar
  • Arrests threaten fragile ceasefire
  • The Valor Within :: Poem
  • Monitoring the rehab centres
  • True colour of politicians
  • North East Film Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Linthoingambi- 'Jury Honourable Mention'
  • Meitei Goddess Phouoibi : An Artwork #3
  • Formation of Wesean Student Federation
  • 20th March- International Day of Happiness
  • A call to first time voter youths
  • Playing the card close to its chest
  • Targeting FOCS and ITLF
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Kangla : Gallery
  • Special scholarship scheme for girls
  • Imphal Book Fair 2023 #3 : Gallery
  • Protest for scrapping SoO #2 :Gallery
  • Maharaj Narasingh Statue @Kangla :Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri : Gallery
  • N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #1: Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #3 : Gallery
  • Naorem Roshibina- Wushu Medallist : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD