As the Budget making process gets into the final stage wherein the Modi 2.0 Economic Road map will be unveiled in the form of Union Budget for 2019-20, all eyes are on RSS affiliated wings such as Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and on whether the government will opt for enhanced disinvestment or focus on pumping in money to revive the PSUs.
The return of the Modi Government to power in May this year signaled that there has been a mandate to the BJP-led dispensation to fast track the big ticket reforms to put India on higher growth graph.
Of course, job creation will continue to be in priority list as unemployment remains a major concern in public space and also by far the single most important issue in the political circle to denote ‘recession’ – “bazar mein mandi” political rhetoric.
Unemployment figures has reportedly touched a 45-year high.
The influential SJM in their recent convention at Pune urged the central government not to go ahead with any move to disinvest the subsidiaries of Air India.
These subsidiaries have good pool of highly qualified engineers as part of the work force, the SJM leadership has argued and also said that the organisation has ‘assets’ and these should be made use of.
Besides SJM, organisations such as Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is sustaining pressure on the government on labour laws.
In recent weeks, new Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar has already spoken to BMS chief Saji Narayanan and assured that the BMS views will be considered while framing the new labour laws especially in the context of social security and safety and industrial relations.
The issue of PSUs getting new shape in the form of ‘corporatisation’ does worry policy makers and also other stake holders in politics.
On Tuesday, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that the Modi government was seeking to “privatise” the modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareli and maintained it has caused uncertainty among employees and their families.
“What is happening with MTNL and HAL is not hidden from anyone,” Ms Gandhi has said in Lok Sabha during Zero Hour on Tuesday.
“There are talks about ‘company-karan (corporatisation) of six railway units. These also include the modern coach factory in Rae Bareli…..Corporatisation is actually the beginning of privatisation,” Ms Gandhi said.
The running of state-run institutes including in insurance sector has full of challenges. In Budget 2018-19, the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed for merger of three state-run insurance companies United India Insurance Company, National Insurance Company and Oriental Insurance Company into a single insurance entity.
However, the poor financial health of the companies and other factors have prevented the process of merger.
Sources said the government is now proposing to infuse a sum of Rs 4,000 crore in three public sector general insurance companies.
In short, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be expected to take steps to find resources for welfare programs announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, including a whopping Rs 87 lakh crore for farmers.
In the words of Richard Rossow, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Finance Minister Ms Sitharaman will have to strike a right balance PM Modi’s desire to continue expanding social programs like subsidized cooking gas and power access and the maintaining fiscal prudence on the other.