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Hype without Substance

The budget postures to be pro-poor, with little to show for it.

The Union Budget for 2017–18, the fourth presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of the Narendra Modi government, was predictably lauded by much of the media for combining “fiscal prudence” without taking recourse to “excessive populism.” The budget has been pitched as “pro-poor,” benefiting farmers, and one that would lead to a more “progressive” tax structure and a reduction in the generation of black money. However, the chances of the budget alleviating the plight of the disadvantaged, reducing inequality, creating jobs, bringing down the bad loans advanced by public sector banks, and significantly improving the working of social welfare programmes, seem rather remote.

A close look at the budget documents reveals that none of these claims may hold good, that the budget is more hype than substance and, importantly, appears to be trying hard to assuage the hurt and pain suffered by ordinary Indians, in particular the poor, on account of the massive disruption caused to the country’s economy by demonetisation.

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Updated On : 31st Aug, 2017


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