We know it is common practice in politics, to cry foul when the budget is announced. Every year, we go through the same sentiment (of the opposition). Irrespective of the budget being good or bad; the political analysis is always skewed towards the negative. But this time around, the opposition parties have another opportunity to express their disappointment.
Even before the budget has been announced, it has irked many political opponents. It really shouldn’t have; considering they believe that demonetization is a drastic fall for the present government.
The scheduled date of budget is February 01, and the opposition brigade does not want it to happen-on this date. Their rationale is; with four assembly elections scheduled next month, announcing budget will be unfair. The budget, they argue, will influence state assembly elections vis-à-vis voter interest.
Our submission is that after demonetization, the opposition fears that the budget will add more sops by the present government. After all, demonetization has been a direct crackdown on the Aamir Admi. It only reflects the nervousness of the opposition.
Populist measures could be taken in budget, so a just and fair election can't be held: GN Azad,Congress after meeting Election Commission pic.twitter.com/BH1IpflQzx
— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2017
We demand that budget be presented after March 8, which is when polling for elections will be over: GN Azad, Cong after meeting EC pic.twitter.com/x7GzS0eY28
— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2017
Haven’t we heard this accusation in the past?
— The Quint (@TheQuint) February 12, 2016
UP Budget: Opposition slams Akhilesh Yadav’s ‘poll-driven’ budget http://dnai.in/dbax
UP Budget: Opposition slams Akhilesh Yadav's 'poll-driven' budget https://t.co/uI3zKHRCLr
— DNA (@dna) February 12, 2016
It also raises a fundamental question. Ever year there is will be a problem, as the centre budget is likely to clash with one or two assembly elections? Opposition objected to the fact that the polls will be held three days after the Budget announcement on February 1. Voting starts on February 4, just days after the budget is to be revealed, and ends on March 8. Counting for all five states will be held on March 11.
According to News 18, TS Krishnamurthy and N Gopalaswami, who have served as former CECs, believe that the government can go ahead with its plan to prepone the Union Budget to 1 February from this year onward. They believe that since the Union Budget is a central activity, any SOPs announced in it for the citizens of the country, without being specific to the poll-bound states should be not be seen as a violation of the code.
On the contrary, it looks at the moment, that the government is following a measured approach to the budget. With less than a month remaining for budget presentation, Finance Ministry on Friday invited suggestions from Twitterati on what should be the focus of the Budget for 2017-18 to be unveiled on February 1. People can exercise their voting option on the official twitter handle of the Ministry of Finance.
Please give your suggestions…
Which sector needs more focus in the Budget 2017-18?
— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) January 6, 2017
Other positives include:
- The government plans to speed up decision and execution, for the upcoming financial year, by announcing the budget on Feb 01.
- It plans to do away with the British-era tradition, including no separate rail budget
- Common man will know about new tax structure
- People will know about post-demonetization benefits/pitfalls
We think, post demonetization, it is rather political duty of the present government to announce the budget, and give us more clarity