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Activists slam Budget, says it neglects ‘vulnerable’ farmers

Slamming the objectives of Union Budget, which has been branded as pro-poor and for farmers budget by the government, activists from seven major campaigns stated unequivocally that far from “transforming India” as claimed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and benefiting the poor, the vulnerable and the farmers, it is precisely these groups that the budget neglects the most.

Stating that the Budget requires a critical assessment, economist Pravin Kumar Jha said, “Even in the case of a much-publicised National Crop Insurance Programme we find that with the National Sample Survey indicating that a whopping 95 per cent of paddy and wheat farmers and 85 per cent of cotton growers excluded from all insurance schemes, it is difficult to address this inordinate level of exclusion.”

Flaying the promotion of Aadhar-based payment and distribution system, noted social activist Nikhil Dey said that Aadhar neither prevents leakages of ration, particularly from godown to shops, nor does it deter corruption. 

“The Aadhar system is giving officials undue power to decide whose biometrics match or not. It has proven time and again that it is one of the most inefficient ways of ensuring delivery given the inordinate dependence on machines,” Dey noted.

Dey further stated that in Rajasthan in the case of ration, the inefficiency rate was as high as 60 to 80 per cent, while in case of pensions it was proving even more disastrous as the fingerprinting mandatory under Aadhar does not work for the elderly.

Exposing the sheer hollowness of the budget,  national convener of Safai Karamchari Andolan Bezwada Wilson stated that a five-year outlay of Rs 4,656 crore committed for rehabilitation of manual scavengers in 2013 was reduced to Rs 10 crore in the present budget on the plea that funds are underutilised.

Social organisations such as Right to Food Campaign , Right to Education Forum, Pension Parishad, Alliance for Early Childhood Development, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, People’s Action for Employment Guarantee and Bhim Yatra of Safai Karmamcharis came together to present their analysis of the union budget- 2016-17 and its implication.
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