Swaminathan A Iyer suspects political ploys initially hailed as master-strokes often end up as flops. He refers to the Rs 600 billion ($15 b) farm loan waivers announced in the budget. It writes off 100% of overdues of small and marginal farmers holding up to two hectares, and 25% of overdues of larger farmers.
People holding two hectares of farm lands – small farmers?
And how do you think it will be funded? By selling off PSUs at a time when the market tank rate is 3% per day and stock prices are down by about 35% on an average, across the board.
Economist Surjit Bhalla says less than 5% of farmer loans to banks are overdue. If so, then the 95% who have repaid loans will not benefit. They will be angry at being penalized for honesty. The beneficiaries will include some of the truly distressed who merit relief, but will also include cynics who can afford to repay but have not done so, anticipating a waiver.
Gets me thinking. I’ve been paying income tax for over 15 years. I patiently put up with potholed roads, blackouts and erratic water supply all these years hoping that the underfed millions need to be attended first. Despite the rampant corruption in PDS, I am one of its greatest fans. After all, I was a beneficiary for the first 20 years of my small town life. I wanted to earn more so that I could pay more tax that goes to feed more underfed and malnourished kids. Not the gorilla cronies of a pot bellied Sharad Pawar, Laloo Yadav or O.P.Chautala.
Seriously Mr.Chidambaram, you just lost me. It’s game over. Now gimme’ all my tax back!!!