A budget that overlooks real needs 

News: The recently presented budget has digital technology at its core. It focusses on providing important services like education, health, employment to even the remotest corners of the country with the help of digital initiative. 

However, there are apprehensions that this may not be appropriate to solve the pressing issue of rural India 

What are the issues in rural India? 

Rural India has many complex structural problems like caste-class skewed distribution of land and natural resources, inadequate public institutions of health and education, persisting problems of malnutrition etc.

Why the current budget’s vision is not sufficient to solve problems of rural India? 

There has been a failure to see that the basic services of health and education cannot be met via technology. Health and education in rural areas require brick-and-mortar institutions, with qualified personnel to cater to health and learning needs.

The pressing issue of unemployment should be addressed by the creation of learning, skilling and employment opportunities for rural natural resource restoration, agricultural as these form part of the rural service economy. This will be beneficial for both employment generation and strengthening biodiversity. 

Apart from this, the economic survey proposes a shift from the previous dominant “waterfall” (or detailed study) approach to an “agileapproach for policy implementation. 

How is the current approach different from the previous one? 

The agile approach is based on “feedback loops” and “high frequency indicators” related to data from GST collections, power consumption, mobility, digital payments, satellite imagery, toll collections etc. are drawn on to make budgetary allocations and plans.  

Source: This post is based on the article “A budget that overlooks real needs” published in Indian express on 5th Feb 2022.     

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