Budget 2016: The finance minister’s endeavour to maintain the fiscal deficit target at 3.5% is very commendable. The way the finance minister defined the pillars of his Budget gives a very clear picture on what are the clear strategic priorities for the nation.
I have always maintained that the Union Budget is not a document where you can increase or decrease something; it is where a government lays down a strategic direction in which it wants to take the country and the economy. The Union government has done it satisfactorily.
All of us were expecting a lot of emphasis on the farm and infrastructure sectors and rural economy. Those were the first things the finance minister spoke about in his Budget speech. The FM has also set some long-term targets like doubling farm income in the next five years. If that takes place, it can transform our economy.
In infrastructure, it is not about how much money is being invested this year, but one should focus on the execution of projects and I believe Nitin Gadkari has been doing that efficiently. The government’s focus on rural economy, the social sector, infrastructure and education is laudable.
For the first time, the quantum of tax levied by the government differs between petrol and diesel and till now, the excise duty has never been dependent on the engine fuel. This is not a positive development as the government may differentiate between petrol and natural gas in the future. I think it is better if we can keep a lesser number of slabs in the excise duty.
The announcement on rural expenditure bodes well for tractor and automotive sales in the domestic market. A good monsoon along with focus on rural economy may have a multiplier effect. I am disappointed by the fact that not enough was said and done for Make in India.