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Budget 2020 | Every single number is a lie, says Jayati Ghosh

Jayati Ghosh.

Jayati Ghosh.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

‘Allocation to job-intensive sectors cut’

“Every single number in the Budget is a lie,” Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said in Mumbai on Sunday of the Union Budget.

India’s current slowdown is worse than that of 1991 and 2008, and the Budget has cut allocations to all employment-intensive sectors, further adding to the mess, said Ms. Ghosh, one of the world’s leading development economists. “All the most employment-intensive sectors like agriculture, employment guarantee, food, health, education, there are cuts.”

Speaking at a session at Mumbai Collective, titled “Flat tyre or engine failure? The Indian economy”, she said all the numbers in the Budget were false. “Every single number in the Budget is a lie. Every single item of receipts, the revised estimates for what they are spending this year and all what they have received this year is a lie. They have presented the Budget one month early. The year ends at the end of March, we have data only till the end of December, so they have to estimate what’s going to happen in the next three months and that’s where they lie,” she said.

According to Ms. Ghosh, the economic mess started in the mid-2000, celebrated as a period of economic boom. “That is the period when a lot of these problems started. That was the growth based on inequality, and it delivered even more inequality. It was based on the segmented labour market, on the ability of employers to rely on the existing social discriminations by gender, segmented by caste, ethnic categories and locations. It allowed employers to exploit all these social differences to extract labour at the cheapest rates. And that has been a feature of the growth process.”

The session was chaired by Ritu Dewan, former Director of the Department of Economics, University of Mumbai, and the first woman to hold that post. Ms. Dewan said the Budget had scrapped all fellowships for the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe students. “This really means the Budget was based on a caste perspective,” she said. It would be difficult for economists to function as there was lack of data. “Data is the new urban naxal, it is the new anti-national, it is to be jailed, not to be released in spite of pleading. And, therefore, you have this Economic Survey which has used data from Wikipedia,” she said.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 6:59:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/every-single-number-is-a-lie-jayati-ghosh/article30720952.ece

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