Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) is of the opinion that the Union Budget caters to the interest of corporates and not the common person. The backdrop of this year’s budget has been unique. The nation is moving away from the hard times of the yearlong pandemic and the economy is expected to move forward. Past one year has taught us to be extra conscious about the primary needs of human beings, the common person, regarding health, food employments and earnings. In this background, a fresh look is required about the model of economic development we are following. The Budget 2021-22 was one such opportunity that the government failed to capitalize. A positive feature of the budget is that further steps have been taken in the area of plugging loopholes in revenue collections. The proposals for faceless appeals of taxes, pre-filled income tax return forms, methodology of gradually doing away with provisions of numerous tax deductions and exemptions are steps in this direction. We welcome the moves for further simplification in tax regimes. However, at such an unusual time of extreme economic stress, it was widely expected that some special assistance and cash transfer packages would be provided to the poor people of the country. This was badly needed to uplift them and to help the overall economy by boosting demand. There is a dire need for assistance for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), but there is nothing in this budget to help and improve their condition. In the social sector, there was a huge cut in RE compared to BE 2020-21. The same cuts are being carried forward into BE 2021-22. The Jamaat welcomes the increased allocation for public health but even now, our health expenditure will be below 2% of GDP that is the lowest among major economies. The budgetary allocation for education has been slashed in comparison to the budgetary outlay for FY-21. This is not appropriate at a time when our education sector is highly stressed. This amount seems low given the current situation where we want to play a leading role in the field of education. With a very high fiscal deficit, we are burdening our next generations with debt. Our policy for taxing income and other forms of cess and taxation is also not in favor of the people. The increase in expenditure is welcome, as it was badly needed at this time. However, there are two issues. One, the expenditure is biased towards corporate-friendly infrastructure boost and much less on social sectors and two; the revenue being collected is through either borrowings or disinvestment. Disinvestment has received a huge boost from Rs 32,000 crore to Rs 150,000 crore. There is substantial cut in the revenue projected from corporate tax. The Jamaat feels that it was the responsibility of big corporates and high net worth individuals to take on the burden of the poor people; more so because they were the main beneficiaries of the collapse of the informal economy during lockdown. Measures like Wealth Tax and Covid Cess were also being speculated. However, the budget has disappointed by shifting the whole burden of economic slowdown to common people. Another area of concern is the revenue model is shifting away from the federal spirit of our Constitution. The share of the states is being reduced. The proposed agricultural infrastructure cess on oil prices is also an encroachment into states’ share. The Constitution of India has envisaged a welfare state. At the time of such a crisis, the constitutional obligation of the government was to come out with policies that help the poor and revive the economy. It is high time to consider the structural changes in the economy by encouraging equity and discouraging debt. Indian economy needs to move towards equity-based finance and an approach that boosts demand.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is strongly opposed to the continued intransigence of the government over the farm laws. Jamaat supports the farmers’ demand that the government should repeal the three laws that deal with MSP, contract farming and essential commodities. We condemn the violence that took place on Republic Day in the background of the tractor-rally organized by the farmers and blame the government for the complete mismanagement and failure in maintaining law and order during the rally and its aftermath. We appeal to the farmers and protestors to be peaceful and be alert about intruders who are out to sabotage and discredit the farmers’ movement. Jamaat agrees with the protesting farmers’ point-of-view that the new laws will end the MSP support unless there is a legal guarantee of procurement at MSP, the new laws will pave the way for corporates and multinationals to dictate prices in the market, which will be quite less compared to the MSP. This will hurt the small farmers and destroy the ‘mandi’ system, which allows the farmer to sell his produce at the nearest local market. The state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) procures a majority of wheat and paddy at MSP and then sells it to the poor at subsidized prices. The new laws will disrupt this system and affect our Public Distribution System (PDS). The Jamaat expects the government backs down from its anti-farmer approach at the earliest and ensure that the welfare of the farmers and farm-laborers is not disturbed.
Need to rein communal elements
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is extremely concerned over the continued indifference of the government on the activities of certain groups that are systematically perpetuating hate, polarization and violence in the country. They target the minority community and want to create division in society, which is extremely damaging for our nation. Jamaat is part of the initiative by a group of activists belonging to civil society, eminent citizens and leaders of prominent religious organizations who have written a letter to the Prime Minister demanding immediate action to stop the coercion in the Fund collection drive for the construction of the Ayodhya Ram Temple. Some people are disturbing the law and order under the pretext of fund-collection and are resorting to violence against minorities by taking the law in their hands. The drive for Fund Collection for the construction of Ayodhya Ram Mandir started on 25 Dec. 2020 from the state of Madhya Pradesh, which resulted in communal violence on a large scale. It has taken place in four districts of Madhya Pradesh, namely Mandsaur, Chandankhedi (Indore), Ujjain and Rajgarh. At many places in the states of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh there was massive destruction of public and private properties, loss of innocent lives and grave injuries to many inhabitants. The letter by these concerned citizens has pointed out that the slogans and the routes taken by these groups expose their ulterior motives and reveal the hidden agenda of such activities. It seems that more than the fund collection, the objective is to polarize the society on communal grounds. These elements are teasing, provoking and trying to create an atmosphere of fear specifically in the Muslim community and others who do not subscribe to their narrow parochial agenda. It is the duty of the government and law and order authorities to ensure that there is no coercion and communal provocations in these fund collection drives.