The Himachal Pradesh unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Monday termed the interim union budget “more of a political statement aimed at the upcoming elections than an effort to overcome current challenges faced by the Indian economy”.
CPM state secretariat member Tikender Singh Panwar alleged that the manner in which the economy had been managed suggested “worsening of our economic fundamentals”. “This will mean imposing further burden on the people who are already groaning under severe hardships, through continued price rise and contraction of employment opportunities,” he added.
The GDP growth rate was estimated at 4.8 % and could grow up to 4.9 %, while agricultural growth is estimated at 4.6%, which meant that the non-agricultural economy had stagnated, he added.
“The claim that there has been a fiscal consolidation with the fiscal deficit pegged at 4.6% of the GDP below the estimated 4.8% is untenable, as this has been achieved by a gross reduction in budgeted expenditure, particularly in social sectors,” he said.
“Through a budgetary contraction of the economy, the announced nominal increase in major subsidies is actually less in real terms, if the inflation rate is taken into account. It is at the same proportion of 12% as in the 2013-14 budget. This means that job opportunities have shrunk in 2013-14,” he said.
This decrease in employment, combined with the rise in prices of essential commodities, would impose more burden on the people, he said.
“The cut in excise duties to boost the manufacturing sector, particularly the automobile sector, can be only very transient, unless the domestic demand rises significantly,” he added.