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Sitharaman's Amritkal Budget 'ignores' social security for poor women and elderly

By Harasankar Adhikari 

According to the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, the Budget 2023 is the first budget in ‘Amritkal’ of India. In her budget speech, she glorified it through her juggling vocabulary. She did not spend a single word for job possibility for educated youth (the most vibrant population of India), except skill training under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0, poor deprived section (aging population and women).
Further, she fully ignores the price hikes of daily commodities, including gas. Is it a symbol of ‘Amritkal’? And is there a government for ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas Sabka Biswas and Sabka Prayas’?
There is no budgetary allocation for women and the elderly population at the bottom of the pyramid for social protection and security. According to an Agewell Foundation report, more than 90 million Indian elderly people will be without financial security by 2021. 
At the same time, it underlines, "Of the total number of people living in extreme poverty in India in 2021, approximately 47 million were females. Females were more affected by extreme poverty in India as opposed to their male counterparts during the same time period."
Unfortunately, the Government of India does not consider it an issue worthy of attention. It thinks it is the prime obstacle to raising their success, so it always uses this to hide the practical scenario of India’s progress and development.
No doubt, the budget declares some modifications and new steps for strengthening social security through some savings schemes for the well-off segment of the country such as
  1. increasing the maximum deposit limit for the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh;
  2. doubling the Monthly Income Scheme limit to Rs 9 lakh and Rs 15 lakh for joint accounts; and
  3. introducing a one-time new savings scheme for women, the Mahila Samman Saving Certificate, with a fixed interest rate of 7.5 percent and a partial withdrawal option, for two years up to March 2025.
But is it not a strategy to deceive the people? Where is the guarantee of a refund? Actually, the government is cleverly trying to record the financial state of the people who are in many ways hiding their position. On the other hand, it is a system for making the wealthy even wealthier.
There is reason to ask: what would be the living conditions of the poor elderly and female population, who are constantly fighting for a meal? Are they not voters in this democracy, or have their votes no value in electing this government? Is it a government for all?



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