Modi govt keeps his nerve, Budgets for uncertain times

Amid the turmoil over changes in the Citizenship Law, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi It is said that he has firmly maintained that support for him, which resulted in BJP obtaining a surprising figure of 303 seats in May last year, remains intact. The confidence, which was evident on Friday when he urged NDA parliamentarians not to be defensive, extends through the Budget.

Amid relentless comments about the economy in free fall and the warning that the decline in GDP figures amid social unrest could cause the kind of disturbances that led to the destabilization of strong regimes elsewhere, the government has held its nerve and is going to press along the path that has been attacked by pundits, here as well as abroad. There has been a ‘deviation’ from the fiscal deficit target, but the government has resisted the temptation to abandon the road of rectitude altogether in order to buy peace with sections which are supposed to be sullen.

The money thus insured will be spent on infrastructure development that it will be a piece with the vision of a powerful nation that Modi has successfully promoted since 2014; something that is also an integral part of the strong leader model associated with it. The proposed changes in the tax regime could disappoint the middle class taxpayers who supported it in 2014 and 2019, but may reflect the calculation that a constituency that bought 'nationalism' and the '' project will not be volatile, in least not so early. This is not an extravagant hope, as the lasting popularity of other nationalists attests to the power of affective polarization.

The concessions will certainly strengthen Modi's control over applicants who have entered the middle class category or those who are trapped there: a significant number that has been an important factor in the success of BJP. They, like the crowds in rural areas, supported him in demonetization and will be delighted with the late move to strip his immunity and fiscal glamor. Those dedicated to the agricultural and allied sectors will be delighted with the attention given to them. It is true that the promises made in the last period have not paid off. The schemes, from the plan to create a network of warehouses to the execution of special trains and flights to transport perishable agricultural products, will not generate tangible benefits immediately. But this can help support the promise to remedy unfair treatment applied to rural areas and farmers for decades.

Live plus The rich will be happy with the attempt to soften the rough edges of the I-T department through the taxpayer's bylaws, and the beginner entrepreneur will welcome relief in ESOP taxes.

The scope for MSMEs and the increase in import tariffs will help placate voters affected by reforms such as the GST. The combined national online recruitment exam will certainly go well with young applicants.

The budget is full of great ideas, major infrastructure projects, acceptance of technological advances and the challenges they pose, crucial ingredients that are part of the mysticism of the leader. It takes into account the reduction of globalization, the reduction of the power of monetary policy, the arrival of data such as new oil and disruptors such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But its strength lies in not giving offence, NRIs being the sole exception, to any significant section: not a small achievement in times of slowdown and social strife. It shows the PM remains focused on his script of development .

It brings out his belief that he enjoys sufficient support to go ahead and also, that he will soon have money—from access to sovereign wealth funds, sale of government stake, savings through direct benefit transfer as well as increase in revenue when recovery gets underway — to ensure de Live ry.