Budget 2024: Tall claims based on half-truths, manipulations and distortions

Budget 2024: Tall claims based on half-truths, manipulations and distortions

Statement | 1 February 2024.

The Interim Budget 2024 is a propaganda piece boasting performance of BJP Govt of last ten years in an election year by selective use of data, relying on half-truths and distortions.
The budget revised estimates numbers bring out that the government has not been able to make actual outlays for many of its flagship programs.

The actual revised estimates for F.Y. 2023-24 for much talked about PM Awas Yojana has been put at Rs 54,103 Crore (Budget 2023 Estimate Rs 79,590 Crore), Swachh Bharat Mission Rs 2,550 Crore (Budget 2023 Estimate Rs 5,000 Crore) and PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Rs 2100 Crore (Budget 2023 Estimate Rs 4,000 Crore).

The government has been talking about increasing farmers’ incomes but the real numbers of revised estimates bring out that Urea subsidy has been slashed to Rs 1,28,594 Crore in comparison to Actual Expenditure of FY 2022-23 at Rs 1,65,217 Crore and Nutrient based Subsidy (non-Urea based fertilizer subsidy) has been brought to Rs 60,300 Crore from actual expenditure of Rs 86,122 Crore in FY 2022-23. This is clear that the government is taking away from one hand from farmers and giving it from another in the form of PM Kishan Nidhi where farmers are being paid Rs 6,000 per year as income support. The actual cut in urea and nutrient subsidy from last year of Rs 62,445 Crore is more than the expenditure on PM Kisan Nidhi of Rs 60,000 Crore. The budgeted provision for urea and nutrient subsidy at Rs 1,19,000 Crore and Rs 45,000 Crore is even less than the actual expenditure which indicates in direction of further cut in these subsidies.

The budgeted food subsidy of Rs 2,05,250 Crore is lower than revised estimates of Rs 2,12,332 despite claims of garib kalyan.
The much talked about skill development mission for skilling youth has paltry allocation of Rs 538 Crore for supposed skilling and reskilling of crores of unemployed and underemployed youths of the country.

The refusal to increase taxes on big corporates and the ultra-rich has resulted in high fiscal deficit, in revised estimates it is pegged at 5.8 percent of GDP. The Debt to GDP ratio has worsened in ten years from 67% to 82% of GDP.

Out of the total revised estimates of Rs 44.90 lakh crore of total expenditure, Rs 10.55 lakh crore is utilized only in service of interest payments which is about Rs 1 in every Rs 4. The government has been known to shift goal posts and create severe distractions and the interim budget 2024 presented today does the same.

The latest RBI Consumer Confidence Survey reveals that more than 80 percent of the population, which falls under the low income categories – with monthly earnings of less than Rs. 25000, Rs. 10000 and Rs. 5000 per month – are facing the brunt of Modi’s economic policies. The people in these income groups see their economic situation worsened to a great extent during the last one year. Recently, the Caste Census of Bihar, which also is a reality check for the whole of India, indicated the actual scale of poverty where SC-ST, OBCs and minorities are economically more deprived while the general state of economy has worsened for all.

Modi-Shah regime’s manufactured perception and false claims of economic growth in the name of Achhe Din and Amrit Kaal, promoted by the rich, are bound to have the same fate as was of ‘India Shining’ in Atal-Advani era, in the coming parliamentary elections.

- Central Committee, CPIML