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Union Budget 2014: Major hits and misses

Jul 11 2014, 07:47 IST
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Like the monsoon, the government is taking its time to move to a more modern agriculture policy. Like the monsoon, the government is taking its time to move to a more modern agriculture policy.
SummaryDull, unambitious, UPA-like... Varying Budget descriptions are only partially right

Dull, unambitious, UPA-like... Varying Budget descriptions are only partially right

Retro-grade

The fear of the CAG, largely, kept Jaitley from repealing the retro-tax — R2 lakh crore of tax demands would have been nullified, and the government didn’t want to chance its reputation. Unfortunate.

Partially acceptable solution put in place. No fresh use of the retro law, and hope that existing cases will get struck down in courts. Still no dispute-resolution mechanism in place, so-called ‘roll back’ based on APAs is on a case-to-case basis and Settlement Commission a non-option as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Subsidies uncut

Budget’s biggest miss, put off a year. Expenditure Management Commission to examine issues. Though Aadhaar remains, no clarity on using it. In the case of food subsidy, this means a difference between spending R30,000 crore and possibly R1.5 lakh crore. NDA remains committed to better targeting a la Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh, so don’t bank on early resolution.

Late sowing

Like the monsoon, the government is taking its time to move to a more modern agriculture policy. The current one, driven by MSPs in wheat and rice, forces farmers into sowing just a few crops, and this is the reason why fruit and vegetable output is low, and inflation high. A likely drought is not the best time to move to a new market-linked policy, but the govt needs to move towards it soon.

Can’t bank on them The Budget’s Achilles’ heel. If banks are not freed up, as PJ Nayak suggested, it will be difficult for them to raise capital. So lending cannot grow as fast as needed.

Gsst ...

Given BJP states were the ones opposing GST, this looked a sure shot, more so with finmin agreeing to compensate states for revenue loss. What went wrong?

CLICK-to-GIFT

Boring MGNREGA, DBT-type acronyms are out. Like GIFT for the global finance city in Gujarat, we have CLICK for Communication Linked Interface for Cultivating Knowledge, PRODUCE, PRASAD and even HRIDAY for Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana.

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