Cut in Budgetary Allocation for Minorities Insensitive, Says Jamaat-e-Islami 

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The budget fails to address core issues of inflation and unemployment. It appears to cater to the interest of corporates and not the informal economy and the common man.

NEW DELHI — The Union Budget, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman this week, is insensitive to the call of the Prime Minister of “Sab ka Vikas” as it has reduced allocation for minorities from Rs 5,000 crore to around Rs 3,000 crore, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) said in a statement on Saturday.

The JIH said that “despite an increase in health allocation this year, it is still 2.1% of the GDP. Again despite an increase in the allocation to education, it is just 2.9% of the GDP.” 

The Jamaat statement demanded that allocations for health and education should be at least 3% and 6% of the GDP respectively. 

It said the budget falls short of addressing the core issues of inflation (price rise) and severe unemployment. “The decision to reduce tax on income above Rs 5 crore from 37 per cent to 25 per cent is not correct. This will further increase wealth inequality as pointed out by the latest Oxfam report. Overall the Budget appears to cater to the interest of corporates and not the informal economy and the common man,” the statement said.

However, the JIH further said that the budget can be credited to being focused on economic growth and fiscal consolidation bridging the negative gap between revenue and expenditure. Now, those having income up to Rs 7 lakh per annum will not have to pay any income tax. This change will help the salaried class. One more positive is the boost given to capital expenditure which is now budgeted at Rs 13.7 lakh crore i.e. 4.5 per cent of GDP. This will help in easing the funding of infrastructure projects.

“Despite these positives in the Budget, it appears as if it is aimed at benefiting only one class of society while ignoring the country’s poor and those living in rural areas. While the push for fiscal prudence is good, it has squeezed government expenditures even further resulting in a decrease in allocation for the social sector. For example, the MGNREGA scheme allocation has been slashed by 33 per cent when unemployment is historically high,” the JIH added.

Another worrying aspect of the Budget, the JIH said was that various subsidies have been cut. “For example, food subsidy has been cut by Rs 90,000 crore, fertilizer subsidy by Rs 50,000 crore and petroleum subsidy by Rs 6,900 crore. Also, Rs 9,255 crore remained unspent in the health sector and Rs 4,297 crore remained unused in the education sector. This non-utilization of allocated funds happened at a time when both these sectors required special focus in the post-pandemic era,” the JIH said.

Corporate governance in India takes a beating

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expressed grave concern over the manner in which corporate governance in the country has taken a beating in the last few days. “A very large business house has suddenly lost more than $ 100 billion in market value at the mere publishing of an evaluation report by a foreign research firm. Investors have lost more than Rs 10 lakh crore in 10 firms owned by the corporate house. This has raised uncomfortable questions over the standard of corporate governance in India with the RBI forced to check the exposure that banks have with the business house,” it said.

The JIH felt that the government should clarify and explain its position on the issue. “The government must take necessary steps to calm the markets and restore confidence in the investing community both within the country and abroad. The government should seriously consider the opposition demand to set up a JPC or a CJI-monitored probe into the issue so that the confidence of the people is restored and the taxpayer’s money is secured,” the statement said.

Appointment of judges

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is concerned about the recent exchange of views between the law ministry and the judiciary regarding the appointment of judges. “Jamaat-e-Islami Hind concurs with the position of the judiciary that the collegium system may not be perfect but it is the law of the land and based on the principle of meritocracy,” the statement said.

The JIH said the collegium system should not be tinkered with at present by saying that it has not been able to achieve “social diversity” and does not have adequate representation of backward, marginalised and minority communities. “If the composition of the judiciary is based on any other consideration besides merit then its impeccable standard will be compromised and it will have a very negative impact on the overall system of dispensation of justice,” it said. 

Governors and State Governments

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind also expressed concern over reports of tussles and tension between elected state governments like Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra, Delhi and their respective governors appointed by the Center. “Governors must remain within the role that is duly assigned to them by the Constitution. They should not exceed their remit and try to play politics. Their allegiance should be only to the Constitution and not some political personality or political party,” the statement concluded.

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