A mixed bag

Only when production and revenue increased can social sector expenditure be hiked - FM

Arun Jaitley must be praised for his honest appraisal of the Modi government’s first year in power. He rightly highlighted the government’s achievements in providing bank accounts and a safety net to millions not covered by insurance. Around 70 million people opted for accident insurance and 18 million for life insurance in a fortnight; while 78,000 people went for the Atal Pension Yojana. Earlier, millions opened their first bank accounts under the Jan Dhan Yojana. This is no small achievement, bringing the neglected into development’s mainstream. Talking of other achievements like ending the lobbying culture/crony capitalism, bringing transparency and providing a corruption-free administration, no mean feats, Mr Jaitley admitted the government’s shortcomings on industrial production, manufacturing and investments.

Answering critics on cuts in social sector spending, Mr Jaitley said only when production and revenue increased can social sector expenditure be hiked, noting that social welfare spending doesn’t come from one source alone. Perhaps so, but he should have given figures to indicate how much was spent from “other sources”. While the government may have ended crony capitalism, it should do more to dispel this notion as Prime Minister Modi and ministers are often seen with “suited and booted” chambers of commerce leaders and distributing awards to them at five-star hotels, and almost never with associations of medium small and micro enterprises. These are the backbone of manufacturing and exports in India, and the government has to do more for them without any further delay.

( Source : editorial team )
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