India’s top governing bodies are busy in sketching out Budget 2018 which will define the country’s expenses for fiscal year 2018-19. Normally, bits of relief in taxes, some grants and schemes would lift common Indian citizen’s spirits – but it is different this year. This year, the one budget and 8 elections spread across the country in a span of one year will define how 1.3 million people will vote in the Election 2019 – it will be a long big year.
In 2014, Modi claimed the biggest mandate in last three decades with overpowering majority from across the country in Lok Sabha Elections. This was achievable for Modi because of huge support from rural voters who underpinned his victory to become the Prime Minister of India – and bring the changes he promised. Three years later, only the lush green harvests are not enough for farmers to lift their spirits – they need better prices for their crops, they expect the government to provide relief in debts and they want jobs for their children. Time is clocking for Modi to reclaim the trust of rural voters how mostly depend on agricultural income; and Budget 2018 could be the final chance.
Budget 2018 is the last opportunity for Modi government to announce significant fiscal measures that could win back villagers like Mr Singh. So far, the election campaigns and government chose to focus on urban voters and that has hardly made any impact on Indian ballot. So it is time for Modi government to go desi and go krishi (farmer) and they are certainly not missing the chance. Rising discontent in rural areas and unrest among farmers is pressuring PM Modi to spend more on the countryside. The rural population cannot be ignored – after all, it is home to about 68% of India’s massive 1.3 billion population, who are larger voters than urban area. That explains why the Budget 2018 is expected to be agro-centric.
Furthermore, the eight state polls this year will display the tone of people of India, especially against the main opposition Congress Party, which has seen recent success in harnessing the anger of villagers. From Gujarat Elections 2017 results, the saffron party won but they learnt a lesson that they simply can’t just reply on urban voters. Also, they will actually require to come up with a “justifiable and equitable” budget that is well balanced between the rural and urban regions of India, they will need to come up with schemes that actually reach people.