People are served better and implementation will be sharper, if policies are discussed in plenty – says Navin Shah, Mumbai based businessman, wary about the widespread discussion in the country about the Central Budget – 2018. He forwarded the following essay, citing it as the best, in his opinion.
Many BJP supporters are slamming the “Anti-middle-class Budget”. Congress and Communists will anyway rubbish it. People keep harping about the “Salaried Class” getting nothing, while the poor and the Corporate benefiting. I am middle class, I am salaried class, and I see no wrong in what the budget wants to do. I am not an Economist, but when everyone is acting like one, I believe I too can express what I believe.
We are the “most selfish and most stupid” middle class in the world. We bargain with the old lady selling corn to save 5 to 10 rupees and pay 275 rupees for a packet of popcorn in the cinema hall without complaining. Often, they won’t return that 5 rupees change and we ignore that. We harass our vegetable vendor and take free toppings of chillies or coriander leaves and then pay through our noses for the toppings on our Pizza in the upmarket restaurant.
We want world class facilities but we need them for free. We look at poverty and blame the governments. Then we refuse to pay the deserved daily wages to our domestic help. We don’t bother about the prices of the liquor but the medicine prices make us protest and blame the Doctors. An entire essay can be dedicated to the selfishness of our salaried middle-class but let us leave it there.
An economy is bound to stagnate when the middle class is selfish. Years of Mai-Baap governance has turned us into the most unproductive middle class in the world. Let us take a look at the Corporate now. There is a grouse that the Corporate have benefited by reduction in tax. Are they a pampered class in reality? If that is true, why have several industries and businesses suffered heavy losses over the years? A simple truth is Corporate create jobs. Even small scale industries and businesses create jobs, while salaried middle class just offers labor. If Corporate and businesses don’t flourish, jobs will be lost.
A Corporate or business house creates infrastructure, provides jobs, manufactures goods, pays different level of taxes and sustains economy. Salaried class does none of these. The taxes they pay come after deductions and through allowances. Most of the salaried class take absolutely no risk. They don’t have to take huge loans and repay them. They don’t have to pay salaries to employees. They don’t have to mortgage properties to run an industry. They don’t have to worry about their properties being attached by banks in case of default.
In short, the salaried middle class has the lowest risk in building of a society and a nation. Let’s us now take a look at the farmers. The farmers risk their hard work, money, lands and everything with hopes of satisfactory (if not bumper) crops. Bad monsoon, poor yield, nonseasonal rains and several factors can destroy the crops and the lives of farmers. Even farmers create jobs like the manual labor and other jobs. They produce what we eat. They risk a lot more compared to the salaried middle-class people.
This is why I believe, the salaried middle class has no moral right to crib about getting nothing, while pointing fingers at farmers, Corporate and business houses. The risk takers, the investors, the innovators and the job providers should and must get higher stakes and higher benefits for an economy to flourish. A salaried middle-class person demands jobs from the nation while the risk taker entrepreneur provides the jobs on behalf of the nation.
A farmer is taking a risk. A Corporate body is taking risks. A business house is taking risks. The daily wage workers have their own insecurities and risks. Unorganized labor force faces hardships. Of all the classes of people, the salaried middle-class is the least risk facing class. They know the cheque or RTGS will be ready by the end of the month. They know exactly what will be their income and have that advantage to plan their expenses, savings and holidays accordingly.
The salaried class believes, Arun Jaitley has hit them hard. But the reality is that most governments have treated the salaried class with kid gloves, because they have unions and they are vote banks. Those who change cars every five years, smartphones every year and can afford flying to different destinations as part of Corporate meetings forget the simple fact that someone sitting at the top of the organisation is funding the journey, air-conditioned comforts, the alcohol, the five-star dinners and even the taxi fare.
It is time the people woke up to reality. The salaried middle-class must grow up. They get their jobs, salaries, perks, food, shelter and everything else because the Corporate, business houses, farmers and workers are taking the risks. Unless a system doesn’t reward the risk takers and entrepreneurs, the economy will never flourish. For the first time, we have a government that is taking the middle class bull by the horn. The bull has to understand it isn’t a cow and can’t produce milk.
A Pakoda seller is creating jobs. A barber who rents a shop and starts a saloon with three or four chairs is creating jobs. Pakodanomics is used as a derogatory term by the left and the Congress camps. These are the same people who talk about dignity of labor and quote Amitabh Bachchan’s “Koi Kaam Chhota Nahin Hota”. They know nothing about entrepreneurship and that is why they talk about jobs, jobs and jobs. There will be no jobs for the less imaginative, risk-fearing and job seeking people, if the entrepreneurial Pakodanomists don’t take risks.
Yes, the tax net has to widen. High end agricultural income too should be brought under tax net. But that can be done only after making the life of the average farmers a lot safer than what it has been. Reforms is a continuous process. If we want to be a developed nation with world class amenities, we must stop being selfish. The other option before us is the Mai-Baap governance that throws a few crumbs in the form of subsidies and sops, and robs us from the backdoor. We will continue to live with corruption, poor infrastructure, pathetic services and bad roads. I know my choice. It is up to each and everyone of us to decide what we want.