Business, Economics and Jobs

Budget Watch: Governing by wealth?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may draw flack for pushing "sops" and not moving fast enough on "reforms," but Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury writes in the Hindustan Times that Singh's UPA government has actually reduced spending on social welfare programs and boosted tax breaks for big business and the richest Indians. 

"Over the past two years, the number of US dollar billionaires doubled to 52, holding a combined asset value that equals to a fourth of our GDP. This year, we are informed that the number has risen to 69 (may their tribe increase!). Yet, we are far away from either allocating 3% of our GDP to public health or 6% of our GDP to education," Yechury writes.

Meanwhile, "The hype over India’s ‘growth story’ masks not only the growing economic inequalities but also the weakening of our economic fundamentals. This column (Health of the nation, February 22) had pointed out the massive tax concessions of R414,099 crore ($92 billion) given in 2008-09 and R502,299 crore ($111 billion) in 2009-10. In 2010-11, these concessions have risen to R511,630 crore ($114 billion. In this, the tax concessions given to the corporate and high-end income tax-payers was R104,471 crore ($23 billion) in 2008-09 and R120,483 crore ($27 billion) in 2009-10. In 2010-11, this rose to R138,921 crore ($31 billion). A reduction in subsidies for the poor and an increase in concessions for the rich — indeed, a government for the aam aadmi! (common man)"