Budget 2018: The Budget was expected to be a populist and ‘election’ Budget. It has turned out to be perhaps the boldest and most comprehensive Budget ever presented. Important requirements to create a more equitable society have been recognised. There will be huge challenges of implementation, and the ability to overcome them will determine the degree of success achieved. As most ground-level action would be in the states, there has to be substantial improvement in the quality of governance and efficiency of implementation by each state government. Improving the lives of the poor requires better healthcare. For this the scope of the health insurance scheme has been vastly increased, making it the largest healthcare programme in the world. Very necessary in India, but implementation will be difficult, and solutions have to be found.
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Creation of jobs in rural areas, and increasing farmer incomes is the next major requirement. Farmers will also be enabled to sell their produce directly to customers, and incentives are being given to adopt a cluster approach to horticulture production. Perhaps some mention could also have been made about how to improve productivity. Job creation has been sought through strengthening micro and small industries. The need for making MSMEs partners in achieving industrial competitiveness has to be kept in mind. Jobs are also sought to be created by giving a boost to Make in India.
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Tourism is a big employment generator and 10 sites of tourist interest are to be improved to give them iconic status. Again, most of the action has to be taken by states. It is good to see that the FM took note of the unsatisfactory quality of primary education and the need to improve training of teachers. Digitisation and use of technology is to be used for this purpose, and is essentially an area of action by states.
Chairman, Maruti Suzuki