Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Budget Discussion - 1


My response to the above article is as follows and can also be seen in the Livemint discussions: 

GDP in itself is a poor indicator. It escapes several areas of income in the aggregation that has become the springboard for black money. For instance, all the waste and scrap dealers till date in all the cities deal only in cash. Several jewelry merchants take only self cheques from their clients and not account payee cheques. Several doctors doing private practice do not ever, ever give any receipt for the consultancy. Several leading advocates are no exception. Like this many areas still escape our GDP. All the ratios depend upon such aggregation as GDP suffer credibility.

Second, India's prism of planned economic development rested on the tripod of politics, poverty and patronage. We have traveled a long way from the erstwhile socialistic pattern of society. But inequities still persist. 

Areas which are the essential domain of public expenditure - universal education, health, safe drinking water and good sanitation moved to private or public-private domain. It is time that the government looks at what are its key responsible areas and provide resources adequately with periodical monitoring mechanisms as part of the Budget.

All the laws impacting on state finances should be subject to Regulatory Impact Assessment annually and the relative Report should be presented to the first session of the Parliament for discussion and modification.

Once these are done, the fiscal responsibility budgetary management exercise becomes simpler. The country is currently in transformation phase and this is the right time to plug all the loopholes in the existing system of monetary and fiscal management. 

It is good to recall John Stuart Mill: "It must always have been seen more or less distinctly, by political economists that the increase in wealth is not boundless: that at the end of what they term the progressive state lies the stationary state.."