We have never heard any Finance Minister telling the level of economic disparity in the ginnis. They are hugely concerned about the fiscal deficit but there is no concern at all about the present economic disparity and expected economic disparity in the coming financial year. There is also a need to categorize economic disparity into Region to Region, State to State; Community to Community and Urban-Rural Disparity…Moreover, there is a need to discuss both the Income Disparity and Wealth Disparity. This must be remembered that while higher incomes can be good for the economy, wealth accumulation is extremely dangerous…If Economic Disparity index is turned into a major topic of the debate on the budget, a sea change will be seen in the direction of the budget.
Dr. Javed Jamil
Let Economic Disparity be a Key Index in the Budget!
Every year, the Annual Budget is announced with great fanfare. It is really unfortunate that most governments do cater only to the demands of the corporates in the first three budgets and take certain measures for the masses, the so-called “populist” measures, only when the elections approach. The budget talks only about the likely Growth, Fiscal Deficit and Inflation. Growth almost always means the growth of the industrial sector. Even in that area, we have failed to differentiate between the interests of the business/corporations and the interests of big businessmen/corporates. Fiscal Deficit is the most talked about index in the pre-budget and post-budget analysis. The reason again is simple. Large fiscal deficit is what the corporates do not lavish. There is some talk on inflation but there is never an analysis of why inflation is high and what measures are being taken to keep inflation down. Even the criteria for measurement of inflation need to be revisited. Exclusion of inflation in the rates of land and properties would only keep limelight mainly on the products of agriculture. The corporate world is interested only in keeping the prices of food items low because it knows that money saved on these will ultimately get transferred to them.
What is however is most conspicuous by its absence in the budgets is the term “Economic Disparity”, which being perhaps the most loathed term in the eyes of the forces of economics is never discussed. We often talk of Poverty Line but Poverty Line does not determine the level of economic disparity. Economic disparity represents the relative poverty of the masses and is often severe even in countries where very few people live below the so-called Poverty Line.
We have never heard any Finance Minister telling the level of economic disparity in the ginnis. They are hugely concerned about the fiscal deficit but there is no concern at all about the present economic disparity and expected economic disparity in the coming financial year. There is also a need to categorize economic disparity into Region to Region, State to State; Community to Community and Urban-Rural Disparity.
Moreover, there is a need to discuss both the Income Disparity and Wealth Disparity. This must be remembered that while higher incomes can be good for the economy, wealth accumulation is extremely dangerous.
If Economic Disparity index is turned into a major topic of the debate on the budget, a sea change will be seen in the direction of the budget. If political parties have any concern whatsoever with the people of the country, they can certainly take the issue to its logical conclusion, and can make it binding on the finance ministers to have a full chapter on Economic Disparity in every budget.
Support business instead of businessmen
In the name of strengthening the economy and the business, the governmental policies tend to favour corporate bosses. It has to be recognised that there is a difference between supporting the business and supporting businessmen. Business is the backbone of economy but not the whole of economy. Increase in business at every level is to be supported. But support to the business and support to the dons of business are not always the same. Any business particularly that at the corporate level runs through the involvement of (1) Owners or major shareholders; (2) Minor shareholders; (3) Administrators; (4) Workers; (5) Distributors and (6) Consumers.
If a business grows, all the above should benefit from it. But in the current scenario, it is only the major shareholders, administrators and distributors that earn the booty. Minor shareholders have hardly any say in the company matters and often end up as losers or insignificant beneficiaries in the longer run. Consumers are to pay much more than what they should pay. All the expenditures related to (1) the popularisation of the brands, (2) the taxes on sales and (3) the increase in price on account of the popularity of the brands have to be ultimately born by the consumers.
Furthermore, the difference between economics and business is to be understood. While business is important, it is not the whole of economics. In the current scenario, the rural sector has been largely ignored. If the products of the agriculture become costlier, there is a hue and cry. This is because the industry wants to keep the prices of food items (supplied directly by the agriculture sector) low. The reason is simple. The greater the share of the Agricultural Sector in the expenditures of the people, the lower will be the share of Industrial Sector. The more a family spends on bread, vegetables, fruits and meat, the less it will save to buy the market products. They will like the people not to buy a Rs 5-glass of Mausami or Sugarcane juice from fruit vendors but a 20 Rupee-packet of Chips or Cold drink from the market. The partisan behaviour of economy has to be changed with adequate emphasis on non-corporate modes of economy too.
Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”, “Qur’anic Paradigms of Sciences & Society” (First Vol: Health), “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. Read more about him at http://www.worldmuslimpedia.com/dr-javed-jamil. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/drjavedjamil; also https://javedjamil.com/. He can be contacted at [email protected]