February 05, 2022

Expert talk on meaning and significance of the latest union budget


The insightful session on the latest budget by Mr Narendra Jadhav, Indian economist, educationist, public policy expert, lecturer, and writer focused on reading between the lines and deciphering the true import of numbers projected on the budget. Mr Narendra Jadhav started by taking the audience through the process of budget making which starts six months before the announcement. Information shared by economists, business associations, agriculturists, trade unions and politicians are scrutinized as well as surveys conducted. The process of printing the budget takes place in the basement of the ministry of finance. To maintain confidentiality, the members involved are kept in complete isolation. Further, Mr Narendra Jadhav spoke about the difference between economic survey and budget. Economic survey is a comprehensive economic document which consists of facts and figures and all about what is happening in the economy. Data regarding government finances, agriculture and other areas are reviewed with all factors and services providing the basis for predictions and recommendations and are not binding. A budget on the other hand not only contains facts and figures but also the other aspects such as political documents. The finance minister synergizes their combination and proceeds with the preparation of the budget. While preparing the budget, there are three main values that are considered: the revised number of the current year, budgeted numbers and the final number for the previous year. Mr Narendra Jadhav also spoke about how India being a developing economy has a fiscal deficit unlike developed economies. Getting into the domestic and global context, factors of grave concern reflected in the budget include: backdrop of corona and the second wave which happened to be heavily taxing for economies and countries, large and unprecedented increase in unemployment rates and elevated levels of inequality. According to reports, 84% of Indian people suffered due to reduced incomes due to prolonged lockdown and the number of billionaires has surprisingly increased. The reports on distribution of national income which is the income of a particular year and national wealth which is the accumulated incomes were examined, and the results show the gap between incomes of rich and the poor, where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. About the important developments globally: countries suffered a lot due to the pandemic, India suffered more but is also recovering at a good pace; US being a developed country has seen its highest inflation rate in years, it has tightened its monetary policy which has led to rise in interest rates, all of which are bound to have an impact on India. Ukraine and Russia backed by China are facing a likely war. This has resulted in a highly tense situation, which in turn has very serious implications for India. This would have fluctuations in the price of oil and the export promotions wouldn’t be possible. The budget assumptions include price changes due to war and effect on orderly movement of capital. The expected rate of growth was projected to be 8-8.5%, whereas he had his opinion that the growth rate wouldn’t be as much but would be around 7-7.5%. The budget has increased the government capital expenditure and has allocated 7.5 lakh crore for infrastructure, out of which 43.4% is allocated to railways and roadways and a large portion to defense. The strategy is to promote the private sector to invest in infrastructure. The logic here is that, when the government comes in with public investment, it will create more jobs. Mr Narendra Jadhav also spoke about, Azadi ka Amruth Mahotsav, an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements. Mr Narendra Jadhav considered the budget of 2022-23 as a transformative beginning. Mr Narendra Jadhav is an authority on Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life and work. He is a member of the Rajya Sabha. He has previously served on the Planning Commission of India and the National Advisory Council of the government of India. Jadhav has received 67 national and international honours and distinctions, including four Honorary D.Litt degrees from the University of Oxford and the title Commander of the Order of Academic Palms from the French government. Mr Narendra Damodar Jadhav holds a BSc in Statistics from Ramnarain Ruia College of the University of Mumbai and an MA in Economics from the University of Mumbai. He received his PhD in Economics from Indiana University in the United States. The Expert talk on meaning and significance of the latest union budget by Mr Narendra Jadhav was held online on February 3, 2022.