28 October, 2020

Welfare Must Walk The Talk

Social priorities have received scant fiscal attention

Illustration by Sorit
Welfare Must Walk The Talk

There is good reason to feel let down by this year’s budget for the advancement of social sectors. The disappointment is more given that the Union finance minister opened his speech by stating that “we are reaching the end of a remarkable fiscal year” and followed it up by immediate assertions that “growth in 2010-11 has been swift and broad-based”, that “the economy is back to its pre-crisis growth trajectory”. After acknowledging that “there is much that still needs to be done, especially in rural India” and that “the implementation gaps, leakages from public programmes and the quality of our outcomes are a serious challenge”, he assured us that he does “not foresee resources being a major constraint, at least not in the medium term”. From here on, the mystery deepens. What are the social priorities? What is the fiscal strategy? Where are we headed? This year’s budget fails to provide answers to these vital questions.

The fiscal intent of this...



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