The Union Budget 2014-15 is realistic, targets the achievable and focuses on reviving manufacturing. Though there were no big-bang announcements, the Budget has placed emphasis on key infrastructure such as roads and airports which will revive investor confidence in the key sectors of the economy.
FULL COVERAGE:Union Budget
Arun Jaitley (the finance minister) has also put a focus on ease and cost of doing business while the government has committed towards building longterm industrial base. It goes to the credit of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come out with a pragmatic Budget, giving relief to individual tax-payers while protecting the domestic industry and giving a boost to crucial sectors such as electronics, even when it has been battling the economic slowdown.
Somewhere it is clear that the government wants to reduce the country's dependence on imports by boosting domestic manufacturing. The focus on building agri infrastructure like warehouses, too, augurs well for the economy while a strict fiscal discipline is sought to be maintained as is evident by the commitment to bring down the fiscal deficit from 4.5 per cent to 4.1 per cent of the GDP.
BUDGET SPEECH:Full text | Video
As for the retrospective taxes, we realise the government cannot bypass the legal routes, but its commitment is reflected in terms of setting up a high-level committee to look into the retro tax cases.
The disinvestment target, however, could have been raised more, given the robust state of the capital market while some more effort is needed to raise non-tax revenues. Besides, the assumption of over 19 per cent growth in tax revenue can be a challenge.
Like the Trinity of Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer) play an all encompassing role in balancing the shrishti (Universe), the Budget makes a fervent pitch for attaining a balance by creating growth, preserving an ideal level of deficit and destroying (supply side) inflation.
The new government, through its Budget, has created significant growth enablers including the 'Rurban' push through allocations for 100 Smart Cities, Rs 50,000 crore support for municipal debt management for infrastructure, and 'Ease of Doing Business' by relaxing limits for FDI in key sectors.
(The writer is Assocham president and CEO, YES Bank)