An aspirational Budget

The Finance Minister has presented a progressive, optimistic and visionary interim Budget. The regular Budget should focus more on setting up industries in deficient and backward areas. The need for strong defence infrastructure has been recognised with a healthy allocation of ₹6.2-lakh crore. However, education should have got a higher outlay. The several significant measures for the blue economy will benefit the southern States. Three new rail corridors for energy, cement and minerals and 517 new air routes under UDAN are welcome. Global funding for investment in Lakshadweep will boost domestic and global tourism. The government should focus on reverse brain drain by hiking pay levels of engineers, doctors, scientists and technocrats in government and corporates. The Budget has raised expectations of the aspirational youth.

Vinod Johri


Right allocations

Apropos ‘Interim continuum’ (February 2), prudence was preferred over populism. There was no welfarism or grand giveaways to the voters. Two things stand out, though. First is the ₹1 trillion allocation for research and innovation. This is essential if the country has to move up in the value chain and become the third largest economy. And, second, is the increase in capex to ₹11.11-lakh crore, which is significant. Now Indian Inc will have to take the baton and do some heavy lifting in capex, too.

Bal Govind


Populism avoided

This refers to ‘An interim Budget that shuns populism’ (February 2). The collapse of the INDIA alliance has given the BJP the confidence that it can do well in the polls without announcing tax sops and welfare schemes — the usual measures to win votes. The temple consecration may also be a strengthening factor. But concentration on capex at the macro level and the sharp micro focus on larger economic groups — women, farmers, youth and the poor — are laudable.

NR Nagarajan

Sivakasi, TN

Fiscal discipline

This refers to ‘Ahead of elections, Sitharaman keeps purse strings tight’ (February 2).There is no gainsaying that the government has been trying to ensure fiscal discipline. That it wants to achieve the fiscal deficit (borrowings) target of 5.1 per cent in 2024-25 from the current 5.8 per cent is a case in point. But at the same time, one feels, borrowings need not trigger inflation if the money is used for productive purposes. The government increasing the allocation for capital expenditure suggests that the country is on the right track to catch up with the developed countries. State governments should emulate the Centre by allocating scarce resources optimally.

S Ramakrishnasayee