For a real pro-people budget | 2018-06-02

For a real pro-people budget

2 June, 2018 12:00 AM printer

It is natural that a government will aim at making people happy with its budget, especially if it is before a general election. This is global phenomenon and Bangladesh is not an exception in this respect.

Gone are the days of the feudal despots and monarchs who are not in any sense accountable to the people for their actions. Today’s governments in most of the countries are elected governments and therefore are answerable to the voters. So voters’ satisfaction or otherwise over a budget has a direct bearing on the election outcome. The nature of an election year budget is vitally important for deciding the fate of a regime.

In Bangladesh, 2018 is an election year; the country’s eleventh parliamentary election is scheduled to be held by the end of this year. So quite reasonably the present Awami League government will try to regain the confidence of the people through a budget it is going place before the parliament soon. But the question is how the government is going to make the coming financial plan acceptable to the masses and what features it is going to have.

It is already known to all that the government is going to place the biggest ever budget in the country’s history of development. But size is not always synonymous with popularity or being pro-people. The country is now at the threshold of raising itself to the status of a middle income country when it needs to focus on more big size schemes that will accelerate the pace of development, completion of the ongoing mega projects and massive industrialisation. Employment generation and absorption of the expanding workforce and at the same time poverty reduction should get the top most priority in the budget.

It is learnt that the government aims at further GDP growth at the rate of about eight per cent. But growth rate and volume of the economy cannot ensure narrowing down the rich-poor gap which is a harsh reality now. Massive accumulation of wealth at the top is not the guarantee of its trickling down unless necessary policy provisions are there in the budget. And last of all, an ideal budget needs to be popular not only in its outer appearance but also in terms of real and ultimate benefits for the people.