Here are some key takeaways from Arun Jaitley’s opening remarks from his budget speech:
Speaking in Hindi and English interchangeably, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley began his budget speech, this government’s last full budget before 2019 Lok Sabha polls, by listing the achievements of the government. “We promised to build a strong and confident India. India was part of the fragile 5 and we have decisively reversed this,” the Finance Minister said in his opening remarks as he rose to present the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha.
Stating that there was “now a premium on honesty”, Jaitley said, "The Indian economy is now 2.5 trillion dollar economy in the world and expected to become the fifth largest economy very soon, he notes. IMF has projected that India will grow at 7.4% next year. Exports are expected to grow at 15% in 2017-18.”
Defending the big-ticket economic measures taken last year, the Finance Minister said, the “journey of economic reforms has been both challenging and rewarding.’
“Demonetisation has increased the taxation base and spurred greater digital transaction in the country. Recapitalised banks have now greater ability to support growth. This will help the country achieve growth in medium to long term," he said.
Women, farmers, education and health care for the marginalised sections of population are the key focus areas of Arun Jaitley’s 2018 budget proposals. The government is walking a tight rope as it tries to balance fiscal restraint and targets stronger economic growth in an election year.