India Union Budget 2018-19 & Economic Survey 2018-19

Like every year, as a common citizen of India, I am keeping a constant watch on the Budget Session and as well as the upcoming Union Budget 2018 announcements. This will be the incumbent government’s last full budget before the nation goes to poll next year for General Election 2019.

I expect a lot of things from this government. But I know the government has its own priority areas, which are likely to receive more attention than others. Well, to be honest, a sense of cynicism does exist. I wonder how can this budget transform the life of a common man like me?

What Does SAFETY Mean

Well, I began my write up with a question that “Can India ensure SAFETY to all? The term Safety used above is an acronym, and not safety in its actual term. By the term S-A-F-E-T-Y, I actually meant to highlighted 6 key areas of focus that require immediate attention of the government, and nation as whole as well.

S-Security: It is Definitely the most important priority area requiring more focus and urgency. Today, the newspapers are flooded with headlines of repeated attacks on Indian soldiers by Pakistani rangers. It seriously disappoints millions of Indians like me.
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I expect more serious counterattack by our brave jawans. Modernization of defense equipment, and remarkable enhancement in the budgetary allocation in defense sector is the need of the hour.

Alongside, Police should be modernized too with sophisticated weapons and training to combat the internal challenges and maintain the law and order throughout the country. Hope, this year might mark the revamp of Police empowering them with better and efficacious weapons and automated arms to combat the deadly naxalites and goons at jungles and other areas. We definitely need better bulletproofs for our defense personnel working day and night to ensure our safety and peace.

A-Accountability: I wonder how can I begin with. To be honest, just yesterday, I read how a 32-year-old man lost his life when he was sucked into an MRI machine in Mumbai Hospital. This seriously shook me from within. How could a hospital be so callous? Among other things, the notoriety of hospitals is getting multiplied day by day.

It is high time, health care professionals must pay for their medical negligence. Just because one treats a patient, he shouldn’t be above law. Accountability has to be established. All guilty people in the medical field charging exorbitant fees from the patients or harassing them in any other way should also be brought to justice by legal mechanism.

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Also, in order to put an end to private hospital’s upmanship, the government must announce something for the poor and lower middle class people. Ideally, ensuring outstanding treatment at government hospitals and nursing homes with state of the art medical infrastructure and facility will be highly appreciable in this regard. The government’s budgetary allocation in health sector must get a leap this year.

In other walks of daily life too, accountability has to be fixed. The open potholes on main roads in Mumbai and other places need no introduction. These killed a lot of people in the past few years. Yet, nothing has changed. Pot holes must be covered across the country to prevent future potholes-related accidental deaths.

F-Food: Around 65% of nation’s populations is still engaged in food and agriculture in one way or other. Definitely, food and agriculture, is a key area that needs enormous support from the government. Unless, a sense of food and agriculture security prevails in India, peace can’t be imagined here. It serves one of the basic needs of a human life and must not be ignored.

Modernizing agriculture by using effective and latest farming device is one of the key modes through which agriculture output can be increased in lesser time. Also, offering some sort of financial assistance to farmers in distress is a must. Kisans and farmers should be able to easily get loans sans rigorous documentation process. It will help them carry on their day to day farm activities without any further fuss.

Farmers’ suicides due to drought or flood must be averted under any manner whatsoever.
Survey 2018

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India can’t be a superpower if 65% of its population engaged in agriculture stay worried all the time.

E-Education: By education, it shouldn’t only mean big-big IITs, IIMs  and other institutes of national importance spread across the country.

Education should mean “Rural India”.

Yes, there is a stark difference between Rural India and Urban India in the realm of education. In urban India, some people go on to get Masters, PHDs and so on. While a major chunk of rural populace can’t even afford primary education.

This must change. That’s why I unequivocally advocate for free education upto graduation for people living in abject poverty in the deep and interior parts of the country.

Mere enhancement in budgetary allocation at education sector will not help. Government needs to directly tackle this problem. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Mid-Day Meal Schemes were well executed in the last few years.

However, more needs to be done. Also, the quality of foods being served at mid-day meals must be upgraded and properly audited by food safety experts from time to time. Opening up of newer primary schools and also institutes for higher education is highly anticipated at the Upcoming Union Budget 2018. Bringing a massive enhancement in Gross Enrollment Ratio and letting all girls going to schools is extremely important in this regard.

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T-Technology: Digital divide is a reality. Nobody can deny it. Despite India’s massive leap in technology over the last one decade, India’s ability to produce useful technology at home is limited. Among other technological things, developing Technical devices that could run through solar energy will be an amazing achievement per se.
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Several villages in India don’t get electricity. Through use of Solar energy, these villages can get electricity and also run other machines. This is called renewable source of energy. It is extremely important for over populated country like India.

Also, Made in India should be a reality now. The government must give some more incentives to businessmen and manufacturers who wish to produce their items here. We can certainly compete with China to become “World’s Best Technology Hub” as we have necessary manpower and skills too but political leadership needs to offer the required impetus so that we could achieve the same.

Y-Youth: Finally, I have come to my concluding part. Just merely saying that we have the world’s largest youth population won’t serve the cause.
The Youth of this country must be shown the right path to succeed. To begin with, youths must get the education, and the country should inspire them in such a way that the best brains don’t leave the nation.

Youth should also utilize their energy, skills and knowledge towards doing the right things for the nation. They must not fall prey to cheap politics. Also, I request all youths to first complete their education and get a good job before plunging into politics. Youth politics is nothing but a mirage. There are several other ways of serving the country too.

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Stay focused and determined. Youths should take inspiration from their daily lives. Youths must stay righteous throughout their lives with right values and virtues and finally choose their own path.

If they wish to become entrepreneur, then start a business or if they wish to become a professional then join a service sector. Government on its part should create jobs – it is extremely important. If youth of the nation becomes directionless then it could literally throw the country back to dark ages!

(Atish Home Chowdhury)

The writer is a commentator on economics, society and international Affairs. These are writer’s own opinions and don’t reflect the views of the CheckerNews website.

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