Special Correspondent

Only a targeted policy can improve human fundamentals: Dasgupta

  • Need for a qualitatively different budget
  • Income disparity in society should be taken note of

    NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (CPI)-backed All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) supports larger allocation for the social sector so as benefit the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, Muslims, marginalised unorganised labour, unemployed youth and poor peasants.

    "Left to market forces, an increase in the Gross Domestic Product never benefits the common masses. Only a targeted policy can improve the human fundamentals and ameliorate the distress of people. Budget with a people's orientation can become an effective instrument for fighting hunger and unemployment,'' AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta has said in his reply to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's letter seeking inputs from various stakeholders and assessing the expectations for the coming budget.

    While preparing the budget, the economy's condition should be taken into consideration. The rising prices of essential goods and commodities, the decline in agricultural production, the condition of peasants, jobless growth in the process of economic development and continued suicides by farmers should make the Government to present a qualitatively different budget from the earlier ones Mr. Dasgupta said.

    "What is needed is to mobilise domestic resources on a very large scale and ensure higher allocation for the benefit of the common man. While pleading for tax relief for senior citizens and withdrawal of tax on the fringe benefits of the working people, I strongly plead for higher tax on the corporate sector, on the individual having more than Rs. 10 lakh income a year, tax transactions in the stock market, introduction of capital gains tax and other such measures,'' Mr. Dasgupta said, adding that there should be much better tax compliance and effective measures to combat tax evasion.

    Against SEZs

    Mr. Dasgupta also disapproved of the setting up of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and clubbing of the Employees Provident Fund, Pension Fund and Exempted Provident Fund that could be used as perpetual long-term fund for developmental purposes. This amount added up to Rs. 3 lakh crore and was not returnable, he said.

    The budget should take note of the ominous trend of growing income disparity in society and seek to curb the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, Mr. Dasgupta said.