Budget 2019

Jaitley’s given us a blueprint for the future

Sanjiv Goenka | Updated on February 01, 2018 Published on February 01, 2018

Lush canvas Focussing on reality

The focus on infra, agri will power long-term growth, and benefit the less-privileged too

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has taken care that the budget reflects the values and aspirations of the people and, at the same time, becomes a blueprint for the future. Alongside, it ensures high growth and will benefit the less-privileged sections of society.

The minister has taken care that the budget contains seeds of growth which will endure over time. The budget lays emphasis on agriculture, infrastructure, employment and exports. These are the weak points in the current economic situation.

Agriculture and infrastructure are at the core of this budget. Jaitley has given utmost attention to the problems of farmers and has provided for measures such as cluster models and organic agriculture, which would improve value addition in agriculture, and for pricing of products through new institutional systems such as gramin markets, agro-processing and mega food parks, as also maintaining MSP at 1.5 times the market rate. The focus on infrastructure was critical as it will create jobs, ease business and reduce cost of delivery. The additional investment in rail and roads and development of smart cities will create demand for industry and enhance growth of manufacturing, which is already in recovery mode. The economy has recovered from the temporary impacts of demonetisation and improper implementation of GST. Industrial growth has picked up and was the fastest in the last five years. The growth of the formal sector, which accounts for about 34 per cent of non-agricultural workforce, is vital to divert unemployed labour to quality jobs in small and large industries.

The finance minister has, therefore, given special consideration to MSMEs, which are important employment generators, by extending the coverage to companies with turnover of ₹250 crore and supplementing EPF with a 12 per cent contribution.

It has been the experience of every fast-growing economy that it has to be supported by exports. The budget has addressed this need and facilitated exports particularly in intensive industries such as textiles, processed food, and leather and footwear, in which India has an advantage

This is extremely important because the rupee has hardened against the dollar due to inflow of FII funds and can come in the way of export expansion.

The expenditure side of the budget is in tune with the needs but there is a revenue shortfall. Consequently, the fiscal deficit, due to changes in the economic situation, went out of hand this year and will not be within the earlier target in spite of the increase in disinvestment.

The writer is chairman of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka group

Published on February 01, 2018
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