Economist and Policy Analyst
Consultant World Bank
Former Director PHDCCI
Founder Chairperson, Chandkika Foundation
There is no big bang in the budget but it’s definitely a bold push.
It is a tightrope that the FM had to walk on and surely, no one could have walked it better than our dear FM. She had all the major challenges to deal with, from the pandemic and its catastrophic impact to the severe global downturn and the fiscal constraints after the heavy duty spending to manage the COVID-19 relief programs; the unemployment figures or election demands –yet it seems the FM touched the right buttons and managed to place growth on the centre stage.
The expenditure figures that she contemplates via capital expenditure rather than revenue expenditure definitely shall have a multiplier effect.
There is no ill-logical distribution of subsidies this time; the focus has been on Public Health and Wellness, Education, and Agriculture. Similarly, no new taxes have been introduced, instead sourcing new revenue through disinvestment, prudent GST collections etc. has been the wiser measure to be undertaken, giving the country a much needed stable tax regime.
However, is putting more money in the hands of the people who consume the right path? Perhaps not. The budget has not really adhered to the Atmanirbhar Bharat mantra by allowing FDI in all sectors that don’t necessarily require it.
Additionally, is there any logic behind wasting precious foreign exchange by allowing import of furniture, ceramics etc.?
At the end of the day, the Government spend is only 20% of the GDP out of which 80% is created by entrepreneurs/farmers/professionals, and within this, 20% is funded more or less by GST collections that are paid by entrepreneurs. So shouldn’t the MSME entrepreneur be the centerpiece of the budget? Unfortunately, not this time.
Of course, the public health crisis created by COVID-19 has been dealt with as best as possible, but creating jobs that has been the painful product of the pandemic was not addressed.
How about some relief to the sincere taxes payers? Hopefully next time...