Budget 2018: The Union Budget announced on Thursday is the vision taken forward by the government, with special focus on education, agriculture, health and social protection for the masses. We welcome the Budget, which puts the Indian economy at $2.5 trillion. With the achieved average growth of 7.5% in the first three years of the current government and set to grow at 7.4% next year as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian economy is all set to become the fifth-largest economy in the world. This expected rate of growth will make it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
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The government announcements in Budget 2018 should accelerate rural demand. There is a strong focus on farmers with the launch of the Rs 500-crore Operation Green, Rs 2,000 crore for rural infrastructure, and a 150% hike in the MSP of the kharif crop. Earmarking of Rs 14.34 lakh crore for creation of livelihood and infrastructure in rural areas will lead to higher employment generation and increased disposable incomes in rural areas, boosting demand for the auto sector and predominantly two-wheelers — the preferred mode of transportation in rural areas. The infrastructure focus of the government is very strong on rural areas and highways.
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Another 35,000 km of roads under Bharatmala will be accelerated, Rs 1 lakh crore additional outlay for infrastructure and the 20% hike on infrastructure spends will bear positive for rural connectivity, while having a multiplier impact on economic growth. With almost 50% of two-wheeler demand coming from rural and semi-urban India, Budget 2018 should have a positive impact on customer sentiments. Since the major form of transportation for rural India is two-wheelers, we will gear up to support the government and the country with enhancing availability and service of our products in the hinterland. Further, the reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel is a strong positive in the Budget that will provide a boost to transportation and benefit rural India.
Yadvinder S Guleria
Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India