Arun Jaitley unveiled a budget for the poor: Expert views

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled a budget for the poor on Monday, announcing new rural aid and health programmes in a strategy shift that could boost his ruling party in coming state elections.

Reuters| Last Updated: Feb 29, 2016, 15:57 PM IST
Arun Jaitley unveiled a budget for the poor: Expert views

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled a budget for the poor on Monday, announcing new rural aid and health programmes in a strategy shift that could boost his ruling party in coming state elections.

MACRO:

RADHIKA RAO, ECONOMIST, DBS, SINGAPORE

"It is encouraging to see that fiscal discipline has been given priority at today`s budget, though we await the fine-print. Budgetary assumptions, especially nominal GDP growth will be key. Implementation of the pay commission proposals is also unclear in the speech, so more details are also sought here. Focus on rural/ social sector spending and roads/ highways are along expected lines and positive. But less-than-expected support for banks` recapitalisation has disappointed. Services tax was left unchanged and long-term capital gains tax fears were left misplaced."

ASHTOSH RAINA, HEAD-FX, HDFC BANK, MUMBAI

"Really excellent budget. The adherence to fiscal discipline, with emphasis on growth and development, increasing infrastructure spending... are key elements of this year`s budget."

BANKS:

MILIND KOTHARI, MANAGING PARTNER AND HEAD – DIRECT TAX, BDO INDIA, MUMBAI BY EMAIL

"The allocation for bank capitalisation of 25,000 crore rupees (250 billion rupees) is only a patch on the 1,80,000 crores that the Economic Survey has identified as the need of this vital sector. The banking sector has a major role to play in spurring private investment which is lacking and without which the all-round economic revival is not a possibility."

AGRICULTURE:

YOGINDER K ALAGH, FARM EXPERT AND FORMER MEMBER PLANNING COMMISSION

"These steps will help our millions of farmers recover from the rough patch they have been going through but the government will have to raise its allocation for the crop insurance scheme, as the gap between farmers` cost on farming and their loss, if any, is huge.

"Although I welcome higher allocation for irrigation, we need to see its implementation. The government has been raising its irrigation spending every year, but we`ve failed to bring any extra area under irrigation facility. How does higher allocation help then?"

AUTOMOBILES:

R.C. BHARGAVA, CHAIRMAN, MARUTI SUZUKI, NEW DELHI 

"The vehicle manufacturers are being directed to get to Euro 6 by 2020 and vehicles contribute so little to pollution. Main pollutant in Delhi for example is PM 2.5, which is dust. Cars only contribute 2 percent to that according to IIT Kanpur study. So why only cars are being targeted for pollution, especially when they are being pushed to incur the higher cost for Euro 6 is something which is difficult to understand and accept as being fair and reasonable."

Mr. Joe King, Head, Audi India

"The budget presents a transformative agenda with clear-cut focus on initiatives for farmers, rural sector and infrastructure development. However, it negatively impacts the automobile industry. We are disappointed that the industry’s demand on reducing excise duty has not been addressed. On the contrary, 1% Infra cess on Petrol, CNG, LPG cars, 2.5% on small diesel cars and 4% on bigger diesel cars and SUVs has been added which will further affect the price and consequently demand. Also, we need to evaluate the impact of extra tax levy of 1% on purchase of cars above Rs.10 Lakh. Government has not announced any positive initiatives for the industry which contributes so heavily to the manufacturing sector and overall economy."

"However, we are pleased to see the increase in expenditure on infrastructural development with specific announcements like approval of 10000 Km of National Highways and total investment in road sector at 97000 cr in FY17 that should help in people getting better road infrastructure."

HEALTHCARE:

VRINDA MATHUR, PARTNER, GRANT THORNTON INDIA LLP, NOIDA 

"The comments on (health) insurance are quite welcome. While the spending on healthcare has gone up, we`ll have to wait and see how many of the initiatives announced actually see the light of the day ... that`s a question mark right now."