Need to strike the right balance between subsidies and investments: Jayant Chaudhary

Need to strike the right balance between subsidies and investments: Jayant Chaudhary

Zee Research Group/Delhi

Speaking on Zee Media's Bharat Bhagya Vidhata, the current MP from Mathura constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Jayant Chaudhary says policy paralysis is responsible for the deterioration of the Indian economy. He has outrightly rejected the Planning Commission report on poverty estimates.

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) general secretary Jayant Chaudhary and youngest economist Suvrokamal Dutta speaks at length against the growing economic disparity on Bharat Bhagya Vidhata show ‘Yuva Mange More’ in conversation with anchor Rohit Sardana. They urged youth to strengthen democratic values and cast their vote in favour of good people. They also believed that today’s youth are not afraid of changes.

Recently, India’s Planning Commission released its latest report (July 2013) on poverty estimates. The report defines BPL (below poverty line) as anyone earning about Rs 27 a day or less in villages and up to Rs 32 in urban areas. Commenting on this report, Chaudhary said, “I don’t agree with this data. BPL is not an absolute definition of poverty. Further, poverty line has remained a controversial issue in India.”

The biggest problem of the nation is that there is a non-consensus amongst the political parties. Talking about India’s gloomy economic scenario, Dutta asserted, “The last 20 years can’t be termed as privatisation in real terms. We have just adopted the American model without taking into account Indian realities in mind. In the last two decades, nearly five lakh small scale industries have either finished or are on the verge of it.”

The problems of India are big in magnitude and systemic in nature. It is not that all went wrong in the last 20 years. Chaudhary advocated, “Currently, there is a lot of negativity in the country but middle class has emerged in the last two decades. Consumerism has spread its wings in the rural markets and consumers today have many options. However, there is a lot of improvement required in the government institutions.”

Referring to the importance of social parameters as against the economic parameters, Dutta said, “Although many schemes have been launched by the government yet the implementation has always remained a problem. We have failed to end the social disparity. Most of them (schemes) have huge leakages and the modus operandi of the chain is so corrupt that the real beneficiary remains deprived of the actual benefits. A political will is required to address the corruption problem at every level.”

Concurring with the above view, Chaudhary averred, “There is a deficiency in the criteria which decides the eligibility of the beneficiary for any government scheme. However, government spending in the social sector is still less in comparison to other countries. It is the need of the hour to strike the right balance between subsidies and investments.”

Chaudhary, however, has a different take on the just passed Food Security Bill (FSB). “FSB is different as state government will decide the criteria for the eligibility of the beneficiary. FSB is not dependent on BPL criteria. There will be a new survey which will cover 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban population respectively. However, now everything will depend on the efficiency of the state government,” opined Chaudhary.

Policy paralysis in the government has hurt the Indian economy. Dutta affirmed, “Opposition parties are also equally responsible for this as they have never allowed the parliament to run smoothly. If it had run smoothly then second generation reforms would have been implemented by this time.”

Raising concerns over the chaos in the parliament, Chaudhary stressed, “No matter is discussed and debated at the floor of the house. However, this monsoon session was still better where key landmark bills like Land Acquisition and Food Security were passed. Land acquisition bill will bring some balance in the system. Furthermore, next election would be fought on the basis of these bills.”

Even, the government is aware about the economic disparity. Chaudhary said, “There are proposals which suggest to levy more tax on rich people. Now, government has mandated companies to spend two per cent of their profits on CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.”

Offering solutions to curb the economic disparity problem, Chaudhary suggested, “We have to reduce the negativity in the system and one should focus on the positive stories. There is a need to increase the political engagement by electing good people. Judicial and administrative reforms are required to bring a change in the system. We should also create an investor friendly climate.”

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