Expectations from the Union Budget in India in 2022
Every year around this time, there is a song and dance about the Union Budget. This year is no different as Honorable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget on the floor of the lower house of the parliament tomorrow, Feb 01, 2022.
A national television anchor announced grandly in his debate program that “Budget is a complex subject” and what had to be seen was how the subject of an economy engorged in a health epidemic will deal with a budget addressing this phenomena. The inherent contradictions explains the poor narrative around the subject in our country.
First of all, a budget speech by a politician is just that even if it is in the august premise of the Indian Parliament. A Politician can only be Populist with very rare exceptions. On the other hand, politicians try to influence the budgetary process but it is the civil servants who create it. There is always optimism that they are basing their budgets on facts. And those facts rely on sources of Income, the areas of expenditure that are prioritized and the assurance of Capital Adequacy.
The hankering by various sections of society and enterprise year after year on reduced taxation is a poor reflection on the Indian bureaucracy who have been responsible for fiscal jurisprudence irrespective of the political party incharge of the government. Has it been addressing equitable income, fair taxation and balancing economy with integrity, is the moot question.
The current finance minister who is presenting her second budget of the BJP’s Modi 2.0 administration is expected to have given the right guardrails for the preparation of the budget. India which is a signatory to the accomplishments of the UN Strategic Development Goals by 2030 needs to be able to show where it is on that journey, isn’t it? So rather than the limitations of the pandemic, how about showing the citizens the journey that addresses 17 most human issues facing this planet, of which our country is one? Health is one of the stations that has goals and objectives embedded in those 17 SDGs anyway.
India’s Debt to GDP ratio is at nearly 74% and Mean Inflation Rate Trending at 5.9%. While large enterprises cannot complain as they have received incentives during the pandemic to increase consumption, the MSME’s and Informal Sector have received negligible or nonsupport. So who is going to bear the brunt of generating income?
Can the Honorable Finance Minister outline the Terms of Reference for this budget before we get engaged with it? How are we addressing a massive transformation that is required to transform our workforce and workplaces that will organically reduce the burden of taxation and what are the key stimulus that is being fused into its development programs? What impact will the fiscal allocations have on the Structure, Synergies and Systems we have to adopt and adapt to catalyze our progress as a Society, Institutions, Enterprises and Individuals?
We should not expect anything less than a clear strategic intent and a transformational path for our governance to find the direction of growth. Capital Allocation is an instrument of Growth, not sustenance. Over to our Elected Representatives to show Accountability.