The Railway Budget was unique and commendable in being people and consumer centric...
KISHORE BIYANI, Chairman, Future Group
The Railway Budget was unique and commendable in being people and consumer centric. We expected the Union Budget to reflect the same spirit of focusing on delivering benefits to citizens, to the common man, to housewives who constantly find ways to balance their own budget.
However, this Budget somehow doesn’t seem to have enough for the common man per se.
Fiscal prudence, bringing down inflation, financial empowerment of states, incentivising insurance and social security and improving ease of doing business were the big agenda items of this Budget. However, what the budget lacked is the big push for entrepreneurship that can turn the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative into a reality.
We were expecting a strong impetus towards creating domestic demand that can lead to growth of the manufacturing sector. Increase in service tax and excise duty will disincentivise consumption. Besides, leaving income tax slabs and rates unchanged is going to leave lesser money in the hands of the common man to spend on domestically produced goods and services.
Considering the fact that this is the first of the five Budgets that this government will place, the finance minister however, has defined his agenda for the days ahead. He has reiterated the April 1, 2016 time line for GST implementation, presented a firm roadmap to bring down fiscal deficit to 3%, guaranteeing a predictable tax regime. These are some indications of the commitments that the government plans to deliver on.
Overall, it is a mixed Budget. The expectations from the government and the finance minister are sky high, and rightfully so, considering the humongous mandate that the country gave them nine months ago. We are very hopeful that the government will show fresh thinking, imagination and boldness in delivering policies and programs that gives rocket speed to growth and development to this nation of a billion people.