With a drought that everybody loves around the bend, P. Sainath of The Hindu tears into the hypocrisy of a national discourse that wails about “fiscal imprudence” when farmers are waived off loans of Rs 70,000 crore but applauds when Rs 130,000 crore of concessions are doled out to the “corporate mob”:
“Let’s take only what the budget tells us (Annexure 12, Table 12, p.58). Income foregone in 2007-08 due to direct tax concessions was Rs. 62,199 crore. That foregone on excise duty was Rs. 87,468 crore. And on customs duty Rs. 1,53,593 crore. That adds up to Rs. 3,03,260 crore.
“Even if we drop export credit from this, it comes to well over Rs. 200,000 crore. For 2008-09, that figure would be over Rs. 300,000 crore. That is a very conservative estimate. It does not include all manner of subsidies and rate cuts and other freebies to the corporate sector. But it’s big enough.
“Simply put, the corporate world has grabbed concessions in just two years that total more than seven times the ‘fiscally imprudent’ farm loan waiver. In fact, it means that on average we have been feeding the corporate world close to Rs. 700 crore every day in those two years.
“Imagine calculating what this figure would be, in total, since 1991. (Er.., what’s the word for the bracket above ‘trillion?’) Ask for an expansion of the NREGS, seek universal access to the PDS, plead for more spending on public health and education — and there’s no money. Yet, there’s enough to give away nearly Rs 30 crore an hour to the corporate world in concessions.”
Read the full article: Drought of justice, flood of funds
Link via Anand V.
Also read: ‘80% of Indian journalism is stenography’