Overall, this is a very balanced budget, considering that the Finance Minister had to simultaneously boost growth while maintaining fiscal discipline.
A budget with a focus on Agriculture, Rural and Social sectors coupled with tax rebates for the small tax payers in addition to the implementation of the 7th pay commission, is likely to provide a strong impetus to consumer spending. While there was an expectation of substantive reforms in the Infrastructure and financial sectors, it still remains a balanced budget with few negatives. The initiatives towards reduction in bottlenecks in the infrastructure sector should aid in growing infrastructure in the country.
The investments in rural, social and infrastructure sectors with specific incentives is expected to create jobs for millions of youngsters joining the workforce every year. The initiative in the area of education and skill development should enhance the employability of youth across the country.
The infusion of Rs 25,000 crore towards PSU bank capitalisation, while lower than general expectation, would force banks to improve operating efficiencies to deliver on increased credit growth while reducing their stressed asset portfolios. Some of the good reforms in the financial sector are:
The continued focus on maintaining the fiscal deficit @3.5 per cent of GDP and giving consumers a higher wallet share towards spending should see India achieve its targeted GDP growth in excess of 7.5 per cent in FY17. I believe this balanced budget gives an opportunity to the Reserve Bank of India, to announce a policy rate cut.
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