Budget 2020-21: With the country’s union budget to be presented in a day, economy experts highlighted the top five areas that could be the focus for the government in the financial year 2020-2021. In a survey conducted by Financial Express online, all the 13 economists and analysts pointed out that the infrastructure sector (roadways, ports, railways) will be the key area of focus in the upcoming budget. “Increase in allocation for rural infrastructure will spur the economy and bring jobs. Infrastructure, especially in the rural sector, has several positive linkages,” said Sachchidanand Shukla, Chief Economist at Mahindra Group.
Apart from infrastructure, focus on agriculture and rural economy is also expected to spur growth, said ten out of the thirteen economists/analysts polled. The agricultural schemes will put direct money in the hands of the people at the bottom of the pyramid and that would create immediate jobs, said Ranen Banerjee, Leader Economic Advisory Services at PwC India. He further added schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) should be the focus. Moreover, creating a value chain for the agricultural sector is important since that will feed into several sectors, said another economist at IDFC.
Meanwhile, due importance is also expected to be given to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). It is crucial to building trust and confidence in the system, said Vikas Vasal, National Leader – Tax at Grant Thornton India. “Assuring business and MSMEs that government is there to support honest businesses and will take necessary supportive/corrective action to set the things right,” he added. Vikas Vasal further said the government should genuinely address the credit issues.
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Another two areas would be investments in jobs and skill development and country’s businesses and commerce. “All of these sectors will have a multiplier effect and they will address the demand-supply problems in one go. This, in turn, will increase investment demand,” said DK Srivastava, Chief Policy Advisor, EY. Another economist at CARE Ratings, Madan Sabnavis feels that focus must be on job creation in urban and rural as well as youth skilling. He also said that ease of doing business must be more comprehensive across states.