The Chronicles of Intervention
Budget + Tweet-a-thon + Climate Change
Intervention can be good and bad, it can be economic, political and also in form of support for a cause. This week has been full of instances of such interventions, from the Union Budget of 2021-22 to the changing dynamics of Farmers Protest in India.
This week, we reflected on the first Covid-19 Budget of India, the value of a tweet and how a 13- year old Ridhima Panday is leading India’s fight against Climate Change.
India’s First Covid Budget
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2021, announced the Union Budget of 2021-2022. This recent budget has been different from its predecessors, in terms of its transparency and maturity, yet ambitious. The reaction to the budget till now has been exciting with the spike in the share market and has also been claimed to be an expansionary budget. Not to forget the buzz word has been infrastructure development, and the keyword of the entire budget has been the farmer and not the Covid-19 virus. Along with an immense focus on election-bound states, thus it can be said the budget has been political, with other economic relief to the people.
Though there are a few interesting aspects of the budget, like, it was the first paperless budget of India and was presented on a ‘Made in India’ (a vital scheme launched by the current government) Tablet. However, when we talk about budget allocation in the health sector and gender-specific allocations, they have not been considered to be satisfactory. When we talk about the Gender Budget, it looks good in the big picture but the allocation of budget estimates in the current policies is questionable. For instance, the women-oriented schemes got only half of the allocations. It has followed the trend of the previous years, as over the last 16 years the allocation in the Gender budget has remained below 5% of the total expenditure and 1% below the Gross Domestic Product. And the union budget 2021-22 has shrunk by 26% from 2,07,261 crores in 2020-21 to 1,53,236 crores in 2021-22.
Support or Dissent: The Farmers’ Protest
After 26 January 2021, the nature of farmers’ protests has strengthened, with growing vigour and zeal among the people and the protestors, the spirit to fight persists. However, one tweet shook a country of 1.3 billion people, and we are sure the netizens have been super easy with all fascinating content and face-off among citizens and even government and police forces.
Pop-star Rihanna with a following of 100 million people, showed solidarity with the protests by Indian Farmers and also criticised the internet shutdown in the capital and adjoining areas.
Later, she was joined by Climate Activist Greta Thunberg in extending support and questioning the shutdown of Internet.
Well, the internet did not take it really well and even the government bodies. The Ministry of External Affairs in its statement said its “unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them”, the ministry also extended support to the laws passed by the government. The suit was followed by cricketers, actors that too in a window of one hour. Later, Delhi Police filed a FIR under Section 124 A IPC- spreading disaffection against Government of India. The FIR has been filed against the creators of “toolkit”- which contains information on how to back the protesting farmers, tweeted by activist Greta Thunberg.
Despite that, the activists have maintained their stand.
Its astonishing, how a couple of tweets provoked reaction by so many bodies and machineries.
What do you think about this week’s crazy tweet-a-thon?
Conversation with Ridhima Panday
This week we talked to climate change activist Ridhima Panday on her journey to BBC’s 100 influential women to filing petitions and motivating people to take a stand.
She says “Do your best, I won’t tell you to go and file out petitions or go out and do the clean audits, if you are not okay with that just make changes in your lifestyle and you can segregate the waste at your place then you can introduce this method to your neighbours. Try to educate them, make a team, spread this message with your friends, easiest to make little small changes and be more sustainable.”
Akhila Nair has listed climate change agreements that have been drafted and signed by the global leaders, their role in combating the challenge of climate change and what is the way ahead.