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A year hence, in the year 2019, General elections are due to be held in India constituting the seventeenth Lok Sabha. This, therefore, will also be the last finance budget to be presented by the present Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley on 1st February 2018. After this nobody knows whether BJP will win the 2019 general elections and whether Shri Jaitley will again be the Finance Minister to present another budget. During his term the BJP government has taken radical steps that has generated extreme confusion, fear & uncertainty in the people taking the economy to the edge of the runway, from where the prospect of BJP as a political party can either take off for another stint at the power or crash to depths that will irreparably damage the prospect of BJP for a long time. A very throbbing time indeed, that is both exciting and scary at the same time. As a conscientious and responsible citizen, we want to contribute our inputs during the preparation of this budget as this budget will be a make or break BJP’s fortune.

1. Education
More than 75% of the citizens are poor and remain uneducated/undereducated due to the lack of quality education. With the commercialisation that has taken place in recent times of the education is now controlled by the politicians in the country that has made the basic quality education beyond the reach of many. At the same time, the government schools and institutions are totally inadequate in providing the quality education due to lack of trained, qualified teachers and sub-standard education facilities. There is multitude of bright
minds among this poor population who are rotting and whose talents are getting wasted just because education is beyond their reach. For the jobs advertisement of
peons, there are many students with MBA degree who are getting employed. There is no relevance of the jobs to the qualifications and are getting filled just for the sake of it lead to the situation where the persons who should get the job of a peon are denied the same
due to a degree person getting the same. A tragic situation where both who got the job and who lost the job opportunity are unhappy. The person who got the job is unhappy because he got a job for which he is over qualified and the person who lost the job is unhappy because an over qualified person got the job that he should have actually got.
The purpose to regulate education and free it from commercialisation by the political and commercial nexus that should be oriented towards creating employable youths who are not only educated but are also relevantly employable

2. Law & Order
Transparency and Justice for all are beyond the reach of ordinary citizens today. Corruption is the order of the day. Even basic FIR to an aggrieved person is not available without a bribe. Sadly, this also is a nexus that stretches right till the top, by way of political influences, and therefore no political will is shown to eliminate this, with the conditions now actually becoming unbearable for the common man. The other aspect that is tearing the fabric of the society is of religious fundamentalism doing a naked dance all across, worse so, in all the states that are ruled by BJP itself. Even the basic fundamental rights of the citizen are being trampled blatantly in the name of justice by the few, defining the law as they wish and authorities watching it as a mute spectator. A very visible case in point is the activities of GoRakshaks killing people in the name of protecting the religious sanctimony. The other case is of a particular religious group forcing girls to commit suicides or murdering boys for deciding to marry in another religion or castes. In all these cases the government invariably remains a mute spectator with no visible & credible action towards delivering justice. Even Shri Modi only expresses regrets of the incidents every time and sympathises with the family but no concrete action plan is visible on the ground. Public faith in the government is related directly to the law and order in the society. If justice is not seen to be done, it is bound to reflect adversely on the government by the public rejection of support to the government.

3. Employment
Modi government’s last election mantra was jobs for all its citizens, as India had emerged as the youngest nation in the world. To, therefore, utilise the power of youth towards development, it was critical that they were gainfully employed and India could finally harness its potential as a truly great and prosperous among all nations in 21st Century. We are yet to witness fulfillment on this manifesto, even after 3 years being in absolute power. So as not to fail in this mission, Mr. Jaitley should clearly spell out a National Employment Policy with a clear financial allocation and support in the forthcoming budget spelling the government’s commitment towards this. It is worth looking at this stage on the government initiative regarding Skills Development that sadly has now bitten the dust. We will suggest a serious study on this failure and how it can be revived to be successful in its new avatar. At the same time, it must also be stressed that in the name of development, a lot of existing employment has been snatched from the present people who were regarded well in their respective professions by their customers through the introduction of new rules. A case that can be highlighted in this regard and which is one among the many relates to Trailor Building in Namakkal. These were forced to shut shop despite their good & safe work over the decades, just so those big businesses can step in and monopolise this trailor body building activity in the name of better quality, a gross misnomer. Another case relates to the emergence of businesses like OLA & Uber, who have forced many a small taxi operator to shut shop as they could not compete with the money might of these giants. With time, when they use their muscle power to squeeze the small operators further, many a small operator will only be forced to commit suicides. Do we need to wait for witnessing this? The famous saying “A stitch in time saves nine”. Let’s wake up before it is too late. It is critical for the government to recognise that they should create new job opportunities for people and not snatch the jobs from existing people and hand it over to such business. It is bound to reflect adversely on BJP’s prospects in 2019 if this is not corrected immediately on top priority.

4. State of Economy

While the government has enacted a lot of legislation to strengthen and protect the banks, it must be realised that the condition of the banks had reached that stage for a bailout by the government due to a defective lending policy pursued by the governments and the banks that had pushed the NPA beyond manageable levels. To minimise the possibility of NPA, a deeper risk analysis must be carried out by an independent body, of the borrower and lending permitted only after that. Further, there should be a cap of 75% to 90% of the required amount for lending which should be dispersed only after the 25% to 10% of self-investment amount is in as an entrepreneur share. Most of the NPA cases are due to 100% funding to the entrepreneur with no stakes by him in the business

5. Agriculture

1/3rd of the population is dependent on agriculture. So, agriculture not only has been but is still one of the pillars of the economy. Channelling the agriculture produce has been talked of a lot recently in terms by using the same in food processing and offering storage facilities to the farmers in Mandi to avoid wastage of the agricultural produce for the farmers and he is not forced to sell his produce in distress at very low prices, that does not even cover the basic cost for his produce, forcing him to commit suicide when his debt goes beyond control. Despite governments making pronouncements time and again on this, nothing much is happening on the ground and the farmer continually remains under stress only. If this government is serious about its pronouncements, it should define and implement a concrete & well laid out a policy on this, so that the farmer gets his fair return on the produce & is not forced to commit suicide, through firm government support and action.

6. Transportation
Another pillar of the economy, similarly needs due attention, if the economy is to prosper and the country is to progress really. It is a well-known fact that for a country to prosper, conveyance and communication must be truly enabled and well laid across the length and breadth of our large nation. What was launched as a Golden Quadrilateral project in 2001 by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee government is what is making us reap the benefits even today by way of smoother and faster India.

  •  Taking from the above, fuel prices have gone up by 25% over the year with daily fuel price change policy causing paralysed hardship for the truckers/transporters as they are not able to get their customers adjust to daily fuel price changes in their contract, leading to all these escalations getting adjusted in their profits or by way of increase in the prices of the commodities, as it is very well recognised that the fuel prices have a direct impact on the inflation. To, therefore, minimise the truckers/ transporters misery and control inflation, fuel prices change must be adjusted on monthly or better still, quarterly basis.
  •  Similarly, for transportation to be free of confusion and in a state of an uninterrupted smooth roll, the government must clarify the application of RCM or FCM mechanism for transportation while bringing diesel, a major cost of transportation, under the purview of GST. This will go a long way in controlling the inflation that will provide relief to the ordinary citizen of the country and thus will only be appreciated
  •  Today we are witnessing the government talks a lot about investing in land, water, and air transportation projects, but only confusion prevails on the ground with no clear-cut policy guiding the government action. This is causing only anguish and pain in one and all. If the government is really serious about this, they should spell their policies clearly on this as we believe that this development will definitely be good for the country in the long run.
  •  The government should also focus on developing public transport system, keeping passenger safety and comfort economically.
  • It is also important that the government should ensure transportation services not as a revenue model for states, but as a service to provide greater conveniences to the users through unambiguous, transparent & effectively implemented rules & act
  • To ensure this the government must also exercise political will and take transportation out of concurrent act by getting the same amended suitably as enshrined in the constitution.

7. Digital India
At no time has India been better equipped to realise its aspirations among the nations than at present and must use Digital India to drive corruption out of the system. For this, all the RTO’s, State Borders, Check Posts for Compounding fees, must be computerised and transactions should only be allowed digitally. This must also be implemented for all other government offices, where all transactions are online and no cash transactions are allowed by the government. The government must come out with a concrete policy on this and implement the same strictly without any exception. Only this will remove corruption from the system if the government wants to walk the talk. While ensuring this, attention must, however, be also paid to the fact that right now the digital revolution is still beyond the reach of the common man and it has been hijacked by the big corporates, criminals & politicians etc., who already had access to them and are exploiting the government initiative for their advantage. The government must pay serious attention to make digital technology available to all by way of a concrete policy and budgetary support if it really wants its digital India to drive to succeed. To conclude, India’s development is important, above everything else. And if the government really wants to fly in 2019, it must initiate immediate action on the suggested pain points and walk the talk during this make or break the budget.

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