On February 29, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Union Budget for the year 2016-17. Last year’s Budget was seen as lack-lustre by many since the ruling party came to power on the promise of major reforms, and the announcement fell short of expectations. But it was argued then that the government did not have enough time to come out with comprehensive reforms since they were voted in only in 2014.
Will 2016 be the blockbuster Budget which everyone has been expecting from the Modi government? Will the government further liberalise the economy to unlock the country’s growth potential? Will there be efforts made towards controlling costs and reducing taxes? Will the government increase social sector spending?
We will know the answers by Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, we asked citizens cutting across demographics and professions as to what they expect from the government. Some of them belong to sections which are usually ignored in the media discourse on the Budget. Here’s the wish list of a theatre artiste.
Name: Suzanne Patel
Occupation: Theatre artist and trainer
What she wants
Increase allocation of funds to the culture ministry, they have always been dismal. By the time the money is pushed into the state level, hardly any money is left to promote home grown talent. Many artists struggle to make ends meet and the governments do not do much to help.
There was a meagre 0.46 percent increase in the budgetary allocation for the ministry of culture for 2015-2016 as compared to last year.
Arts need to be promoted at school level and budgetary allocations need to be made towards that. Even when it comes to getting a higher education in the country, our universities face drastic budget cuts. Sahitya Akademi (SA) and National School of Drama's (NSD) budget allocations were cut by 54 and 44 percent, in Budget 2015-16.
Folk theatre is also dying in the country. Many of these travelling shows could be given a leg up with a little bit of money. That being said, all the places where money is being pushed, should have someone to keep a tab on it, so that the money allocated is utilized well.