Friday, February 26, 2010

Pranab could have empowered local Governments: Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan was all praise for Union Finance Minister for reining in fiscal deficit and putting the economy back on the growth path but faulted him for failing to empower the third tier of government – the local bodies – with devolution of resources.

Commenting on the Union Budget for 2010-11, Dr. JP pointed out that the 13th Finance Commission recommendations along with Centrally-sponsored schemes would transfer nearly 3.5 lakh crore to Rs.4 lakh crore from the Government of India to States. Of it, a mere 1.5 percent amounting to less than Rs.10000 crore was to go to local bodies. Without devolution of resources to local bodies in tune with the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments, there would not be any improvement in people’s lives.

Dr. JP complimented Mr. Pranab Mukherjee for taking steps towards fiscal consolidation with calibrated withdrawal of stimulus packages and bringing down the fiscal deficit from 7.8 % in 2008-09 to 6.9 percent in 2009-10 and planning to reduce it to 5.4% in 2011-12. He also gave credit to the Finance Minister for the country inching towards a growth rate of 7.2% in 2009-10 notwithstanding poor rainfall in many parts of the country, and aiming at a growth rate of 8.5 percent in 2011-12.

Dr. JP, who described the increase in petroleum product prices as inevitable whichever party happened to be in power, regretted that the Union Finance Minister had not paid any attention to subsidizing public transport. The Union Finance Minister, who levied a cess on coal to encourage clean technologies in the context of global warming, should have thought of public transport as a complementary means to curb emission of harmful gasses by the ever proliferating private transport vehicles.

Although Mr. Pranab Mukherjee held forth on poverty eradication – the ruling party’s mantra since 1971 --, he was short on action. Poverty could not be eradicated unless the Government focused on providing quality education and health care to every child and on enhancing skills of the millions of the unemployed. It was the fear over livelihood prospects that prompted the youth to take to agitations in Andhra Pradesh.

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, one of the senior most politicians with rich experience, did not display vision in making a frontal assault on poverty through promotion of education and healthcare. Instead, he confined himself to schemes like the NREGS that fetched votes.

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has also failed to focus on improving agricultural productivity and contented himself with allocating a token Rs.400 crore to Eastern India.

Dr. JP, who welcomed the relief given to income tax payers, wondered why the Union Finance Minister had not bothered about raising the tax base. The Union Government’s direct tax revenue constituted a mere 12% of the GDP whereas it is 40% in the U.S. and nearly 50% in the U.K.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Sir,

    What did you meant by subsidizing public transport?

    My idea was to invest heavily in RTC as far as AP is concerned.Procure new buses which are on par with emission norms.Give subsidized petrol/diesel to this corporation so that it can reduce charges to its passengers.This way we can encourage public transport.More than the subsidy, today most of the people choose other modes of transport not because they are lavish spenders but because they don't get a convenient public transport facility.This is the reason why most of the corporates maintain their own transport facilities to offices be hiring RTC or Private buses. RTC should work on the ways(govt should fund this) to improve convenience to public.This would definitely bring profit to RTC and reduce traffic,reduce carbon emissions,relives public from the strain of driving their cars/motorcycles in busy roads,improves the work productivity,improves mental conditions and lifestyle,improves their savings,reduces the fuel consumption of the state etc.Not one but many cumulative positive effects.May be this is applicable only to cities and towns but these are the only areas which are causing this biological imbalance.

    Did i reach you idea of subsidizing or you meant something different.