What Is A Populist Budget?

By Roshni Agarwal
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    Just one month ahead of the Union Budget for the FY 2018-19 to be presented on February 1, 18, there have been news making rounds of the most likely Populist budget announcement. So what is this populist budget all about-

    What Is A Populist Budget?

    Basically there is no set definition for a populist budget and it intends to reflect the interest of a larger population base of the country. 'Populist' is an adverb added to the budget through which it resonates around the public and hence increases its appeal. It can thus be said that such a budget is devised by the government by articulating the general concerns of the people.

    Most often it is used by political parties and ruling politicians as a sign of disapproval for their opponents' budget.

    In its earlier budget for the FY 2017-18, government increased its spending by 0.25% but without breaching the set fiscal deficit target and hence being a popular budget instead of the populist budget.

    What Populist Budget for FY 19 mean for the Indian economy?

    If the Modi government takes the populist measures in his last full budget just before the general assembly elections in 2019, it would create more pressure on the balance sheet of the government which is more likely to breach the fiscal deficit target at 3.2% of the GDP for the FY 2018. Reversal of reforms on a sudden basis shall also not augur well for the Indian economy.

    As against the most likelihood of a populist budget for FY 19, Rathin Roy, PMEAC member hopes that the forthcoming budget will not be 'populist' and instead focus on improving the quality of expenditure of the government.

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