Part 2# Budget2020 : Our Expectations From Nirmala Sitharaman

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Providing jobs is a big challenge for the Modi government. And jobs per se can be created in two sectors– Industry and Agriculture.

The Budget needs to encourage the industrial sector where more and more people can get jobs.

Big Industries/ Heavy Industries: In fact large scale employment can be created if Budget makes provisions for big industries like those in aviation sector or shipping sector. So far India does not have any manufacturing in aviation industry. Similarly there is huge scope for expansion in shipping industry.

1) Aviation: The Budget should invite FDI in manufacturing of fighter and/or commercial aircrafts in India. This will allow mushrooming of numerous smaller industries for supplies and thus create employment/ livelihood for lakhs of people directly or indirectly.

2) Shipping: The Modi government has lots of focus on trade/ tourism through waterways. However, we have not seen much in this sector. If waterways is encouraged in right direction we will need lots of medium or large scale industries in the shipping industry. The Budget can push industries in this sector by allowing manufacture of small, medium and large boats, ships etc which will generate good amount of employment.
Boats and small ships also have great export potential which will boost country’s economy.

3) Automobiles: India has seen enormous growth in auto sector. Car ownership percentage has grown tremendously and there are millions of smiling faces in the society. However most vehicles manufactured in India are for domestic markets only. The export in its comparison is poor.

The Budget should focus on manufacture of vehicles which are for exports only. This means that the vehicles will be manufactured in India but sold in other countries. One can expect more industries to come up in India and greater number of people getting jobs/ work.

Food is so important for us and so is agriculture or agro-industry. There exists a vast scope to engage people in this sector. Boosting agriculture will also reverse the trend of people rushing to cities.

Even now India is not fully utilising its land for agriculture and harvesting.

Private Investment: Agriculture production and condition of farmers has been a major cause of worry for all ruling governments. Poor condition of farmers, poor harvesting, poor techniques and poor marketing of produce have been the root cause of miseries leading to unwanted politics.

It is an irony and even unfortunate that a farmer, who is poor with no bank balance, no assets and no assurance of income, goes to bank asking for loan so that he can harvest the fields with no guarantee of the yields, its marketing and the profits. The big question is that for whom the farmer is doing all this exercise. The answer is that the farmer is taking so much of pains for all of us living in urban areas, big cities and even have surplus money but do not know where to invest. Then why not allow urban rich to invest in the agriculture sector and relieve the farmer from the pains of loans. Why not allow flow of money from cities to the villages? Why can’t be an industrialist and farmer be partners an harvest the land with mutual agreement which may come with the consent of Gram Panchayat and all legal safeguards for the farmers?

I wish the Budget allows urban investors to divert their funds to the agricultural fields and rid the farmers of financial issues. If a person thinks of starting an industry or factory in the city why can’t he invest in farm sector and take care of production and its cost in the village.

The Budget may fix conditions allowing investments only and NOT the ownership of land etc. Hopefully this will reduce the fear that farmers will lose lands and become labourers.

Benefits: This will have double benefit– firstly, it will stop rush towards cities and thus help control overcrowding of urban areas. Secondly, it will increase production because the investor will take care of all production needs and make sure higher yields are achieved. This means more production and better marketing as well as complete check on hoarding. Thirdly, it will help in reducing pollution as there will be increased greenery in the fields. Fourthly, there will be employment generation too as the harvest needs to be marketed too which requires a good number of manpower.

AGRO-INDUSTRIES: The Budget needs to encourage such industries which are closer to agricultural fields and the farmer can easily and conveniently sell his produce there. Such industries will help generate employment at local level and also keep the production cost at minimal thus, ultimately, keep the prices low.

For example, a ketchup factory should come up at places where more tomatoes are grown. Similarly coconut water can be packaged and marketed from such coastal areas which produce more of coconuts. Apple jam can be made in Kashmir or Himachal on larger scale instead of Maharashtra or Karnataka.

The society and the government is well aware of the poor condition of senior citizens in our country. The government can strive to improve their condition with the help of Budget.

Tax-free pension: For all senior citizens above the age of 65 years the pension should be completely tax-free. However, those between 60 to 65 years of age continue to pay taxes as usual.

No TDS on bank deposits: Every senior citizen above the age of 70 years can have any amount in his/her bank account/ term deposits without bothering to pay a single paisa as tax. This means that bank earnings for all senior citizens above the age of 70 years is completely tax-free. Firstly, this will financially empower the old persons, secondly, it will give them social security. Thirdly, when these people open bank accounts they furnish proof of their citizenship, residence, domicile etc. (You beat the CAA/ NRC protests smartly). Fourthly, the deposits with the banks go up.

Free Travel: The Budget should come up with a lucrative ‘Travel Scheme’ allowing free travel to all senior citizens above the age of 65 years of age once in two years to any domestic destination of their choice. The free ticket availed is the of the base price only and the passenger will bear taxes/ other charges applicable.

The catch is you should be a tax-payer to avail this facility, have valid Aadhar/ PAN number bank account etc. Again, (You beat the CAA/ NRC protests smartly).

This will go a long way in boosting domestic tourism and related industry and also generate local employment.

Continuously growing population is a major cause of worry for every government and it hampers all development work done so far. While it is not advisable to ask people to adopt population control measures the Budget may come up with lucrative schemes for smaller families.

Environment and growing pollution is yet another area that demands lot of Budgetary provisions. We all know that our cities are fast becoming polluted and drastic measures are needed to reverse this trend.

1) Lease Greenbelts: There are green belts in all cities and alongside highways. These green belts are poorly maintained and do not look as green as they should be. One can find more of garbage lying there than greenery. To encourage more plantation the Budget may allow private nurseries to maintain these green belts on contractual basis. The advantage will be that the government will earn substantial amount by way of allocating contracts and, in return, these nurseries will be allowed to sell the produce grown in these green belts. For example, if a nursery takes five km stretch on contract and grows mango and jackfruit trees alongside the highway it shall be allowed to sell the fruits.

2) Lease Public Parks: In cities the colony parks are not properly maintained. The Budget can permit RWAs to take these parks on contract and maintain them. The contract shall be chargeable by the government.

3) Solar Energy: There has been a lot of focus on utilisation of solar energy. The results so far have not be very encouraging. To encourage solar energy certain measures can be announced in the Budget:

a) Small/ portable solar batteries: The Budget can make special provisions to encourage manufacture of small/ portable solar batteries which can be used to operate bicycles, cycle lamps, domestic bulbs, torches etc.

b) Solar products: There are many gadgets which can be easily run on solar energy. The Budget should make special provisions for the manufacture and marketing of innovative solar products so that they are easily available in the local markets.

We are continuously exposed to sunlight when we are on the move. Be it our vehicles or our carry bags they receive uninterrupted sun light which needs to be tapped and brought to use in various ways. The Budget may encourage manufacture and sale of such useful solar gadgets.

Not only this the Budget may promote solar industries to go for bigger exports which will bring higher revenue for the government.

c) Solar power in Apartments: These days we are witnessing huge construction activity in urban areas and a lot of high rise buildings are coming up in different localities. The Budget should make it mandatory for the builders to tap solar light and design their towers accordingly. If the towers are designed properly they can be fitted with vertical solar panels to make use of the sunlight.

Manufacture and marketing of solar products will open new markets thus creating employment opportunities for many people.

4) Waste Management Plants: The Budget should make special provisions for waste management plants on a large scale. This is necessary as the energy generated from wastes may be put to better use.

Modi government has be making efforts for cashless society but the dream remains unfulfilled. This is because of wide circulation of liquid money, rightly called black money, in our society. There are numerous local ‘rich’ people living among us who poison the society with their lifestyle as earning and spending in cash suits them.

Cash Expenditure: Spending cash money is proving dangerous and the government has not been able to control it. Cash money is widely spent in buying petrol without any check, hotels and restaurants, bus, train and air tickets, shopping etc. There are no checks on the amount you spent. Anybody can easily and fearlessly buy petrol for one lakh rupees every month with no questions asked and still be branded as common man who lives hand to mouth.

Housing: Black money is widely spent in buying houses– any number, anywhere in the country. Lots of private builder apartments are coming up in cities but still the needy remain homeless. The Budget should make provisions to restrict people from buying any number of houses whether from the government agency or from any private builder. It is the black money only which has made housing an opportunity for investment whereas a home is one of the basic needs of mankind– roti, kapda aur makaan.

The Budget should make it mandatory that no house or land can be registered without quoting both the Aadhar number and PAN number. This will make it possible to identify such people who have multiple houses/ land in their names or in the names of their family members. No person should be allowed ownership of more than one house in one city. After all, how many houses do you need to live?
(This is also the smart way to beat the CAA/NRC protests as only legal residents will be able to buy properties in India.)

Size of House: The Budget can easily fix what size of house should a person purchase by linking it to his/ her tax slab. If you declare less income and pay taxes in the lowest slab then how is it possible for you to buy a luxury penthouse or a huge apartment in a posh society? The thumb rule should be that the property purchased by a person should be in proportion to the tax slab he falls.
Benefit: When there are lesser houses there is reduced construction and you finally get a cleaner environment.

Buying Cars: Black money is again used widely in buying cars according to your whims and fancies. As a result we are losing on cleaner air and seeing more of traffic jams, congestion on roads and vehicles parked on roadside. The Budget needs to check the habit of buying cars as and when you fancy. It should make it mandatory that once a car is purchased it cannot be sold for five years, at least. Also, nobody should be allowed to buy more than two cars within a span of three years.

Buying luxury cars or cars with poor mileage should be heavily taxed. This will encourage use of smaller cars, mileage-friendly vehicles and lead to lesser traffic congestion and ultimately reduced pollution.

Money saved by people but NOT spending in housing and vehicles can be used in investing in agriculture, tourism etc.

Cashless transactions has been the focal point of the Modi government but this has not been a very successful. The Budget should make several provisions that encourage cashless transactions.

1) Government bookings: Go to post offices and you need to pay cash. How sad? Want to pay telephone or electricity bill you can easily find a cash counter. The Budget should encourage cashless transactions in all government offices and even offer a small discount on bills. This will encourage people to open and operate bank accounts.
Want to bus ticket from state roadways pay with your card, buying a train ticket pay with your card, booking a parcel with Speed Post pay with your card. Even money transfer (money order) should be cashless. The benefit will be that you will have to open a bank account to get a Debit Card and make payments and opening a bank account requires certain documentation.
(You beat the CAA/ NRC protests smartly.)

2) Cashless for shopkeepers: A lot of shopkeepers do not comply with cashless moves. These shopkeepers insist on making payment in cash because it suits their personal lifestyles and helps them declare lower than actual income.

The Budget should make it mandatory for all shopkeepers to maintain a POS machine.

If this practice is checked then lot of liquid black money that is in circulation in the society will come under scrutiny.
(You beat the CAA/ NRC protests smartly.)

The farmers have been looking for various benefits from the government. To help farmers the government should:
1) Kisan Malls: The Budget should make provisions to open Kisan Malls in rural areas/ villages. These malls can have all shops under one roof that meet the needs of a farmer. Such malls need to be opened by businessmen, traders who have money and are looking for investments. The purpose is to divert investments in rural sector which will bring more modernity to rural life.
2) Marketing of Produce: The farmers should be free to sell their produce at their will. Agro-industries around villages will help farmers get better prices. The state interference in selling of agricultural produce should be minimised/ even abolished.
Investments by businessmen will give more economic freedom to the farmers as they will not need to take loans for agriculture task. All other agricultural requirements too shall be taken care of by the investors.
The Railways has been running into losses and people do not want any escalation in prices.
For better operations the Budget should segregate the Railways into two entirely different segments:
a) Passenger Segment
b) Commercial Segment
The management of both the segments should be entirely different/ separate within the ministry. The commercial segment will take care of all goods trains, transportation of parcels and all other business activities.
Budget should make provisions that the railway stations for passenger trains and goods trains too are separate for the convenience of people and ease of doing business.

To conclude I can say that the role of Budget is much more than income tax rebate, price cuts and subsidies. If the finance ministry stands firm it can transform the society with help of annual Budget. Last but not the least, the finance minister needs to ensure that the good effects of Budget are felt by the aam admi of our society and that people lead a happy life.

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