Thursday, 18 August, 2022
HomeEconomyLower tax, pension for shopkeepers, pucca houses: BJP manifesto packed with populism

Lower tax, pension for shopkeepers, pucca houses: BJP manifesto packed with populism

BJP has also promised to bring the proportion of families living below the poverty line to single digits in the next five years.

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New Delhi: From lowering tax rates to rewarding honest taxpayers to sops for small traders, Rs 50 lakh collateral-free credit to entrepreneurs, and massive investments in infrastructure, the 2019 manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a slew of promises to please the middle class and small businesses and traders.

Among other things, the BJP has also promised to bring the proportion of families living below the poverty line to single digits in the next five years, besides reiterating their 2014 promise of pucca houses for all families by 2022.

The BJP has vowed a continued “crackdown on benami properties and illegal foreign bank accounts to benefit honest taxpayers and the poor of the country” but, unlike the 2014 manifesto, black money finds just one mention this time around. The last manifesto had at least five mentions.

One of the measures the party has trumpeted as one of its major achievements, demonetisation, was mentioned only once, in passing.


Also read: BJP’s ‘nationalist’ manifesto promises zero tolerance of terrorism & free hand to military


For the middle class and traders

India is currently the sixth-largest economy in the world, but the BJP has promised to take it three slots up to rank three by 2030 — a $5 trillion economy by 2025 and $10 trillion by 2032.

However, it’s another promise that is likely to really buoy the middle class, that of possibly lower taxes. “We are committed to further revise the tax slabs and the tax benefits to ensure more cash and greater purchasing power in the hands of our middle income families,” the BJP has said in its manifesto, which also seeks to vow a big push for small business owners.

To appease its key voter base of traders, the BJP has promised to establish a National Traders’ Welfare Board and a National Policy for Retail Trade that will be aimed at their growth.

It also promises an accident insurance of Rs 10 lakh to all traders registered under the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The BJP, according to the manifesto, will give merchants special ‘merchant credit cards’ on the lines of the kisan credit card, which gives farmers access to affordable credit.

The manifesto also promises to expand the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan scheme to cover all small shopkeepers. The scheme was announced in this year’s interim budget and seeks to assure a Rs 3,000/month pension to all the workers of the unorganised sector who earn a monthly income of up to Rs 15,000.

Besides promising a Rs 50 lakh collateral-free loan to entrepreneurs, the party has vowed to facilitate the “establishment of 50,000 new start-ups”, besides easing regulatory norms for new endeavours.


Also read: Full text of BJP’s 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto


Infrastructure

The BJP has also promised a capital investment of Rs 100 lakh crore in the next five years, with a massive push for infrastructure: Doubling the length of national highways by 2022, the year India completes 75 years of Independence, besides building 60,000 km of national highways in the next five years, doubling the number of functional airports from the 101 at present, and the electrification of all railway tracks over the next five years.

Speaking to ThePrint, an economist pointed out that the Rs 100 lakh crore investment has to be inclusive of private investment, along with government expenditure.

“At present, the total central government capital expenditure is around 1.5 per cent of the GDP and state government capital expenditure is around 3 per cent of GDP,” the economist added.

The economist did not wish to be identified, as he is not authorised to speak on political manifestos.

“So, annually, the central government and state government spend around Rs 9 lakh crore annually. Even if the government steps up its spending, the private sector will have to invest Rs 10 lakh crore every year to ensure that Rs 20 lakh crore is invested every year. How will that happen?” he added.

Manufacturing

Another key promise is to make India a global manufacturing hub, with the BJP saying it would devise a new industrial policy to improve the competitiveness of India’s manufacturing and services and promote cluster-based manufacturing.

This, it added, would lead to more jobs.

If voted to office for a second successive term, the BJP will work to improve India’s ranking in the ease-of-doing-business index to 50 — in 2018, India’s rank was registered at 77.

It also promises to amend the Companies Act to impose only a civil liability for technical and procedural defaults of a minor nature, in order to reduce the number of court cases.

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. 1. We citizens know that political parties’ manifestos are empty promises. They are therefore simply meaningless. Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde’s remarks that “political parties will promise anything to come to power and do anything to retain it” tell everything about ALL political parties’ conduct today. These remarks hold good for all promises given in manifestos of BJP and Congress. 2. I believe the Congress, as the oldest political party in our country has a special moral responsibility and it must clarify to citizen-voters how the “Nyay” or minimum income guarantee scheme will be implemented as the party’s manifesto is silent about ways to generate adequate revenue. 3. Incidental observations: there is massive use of unaccounted money in elections. No political party is willing to give powers to Election Commission to order a professional audit of accounts of political parties. 4. As regards economy, NDA government‘s performance during five years cannot simply be compared with Congress & UPA governments’ performance during four decades. 5. BJP & Congress would do a great service to the nation if both of them agree to have in place a comprehensive and reliable administrative-cum legal set-up which will exclusively investigate and deal with corruption cases against politicians, bureaucrats etc. Citizens demand that Fast Track Special Courts should be set-up to exclusively try all corruption cases against politicians, a process we now was opposed by the Congress party in the Rajya Sabha.

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