Budget 2018 Commentary: Can the Budget fulfill Aam Aadmi's expectations?

Can Union Budget 2018 deliver on the expectations of the common man?

Modinomics: Can this Budget deliver on the expectations of the common man, the farmer and the industry-all together? Can it generate the jobs that India needs? Can it trigger economic growth India needs too badly. And finally, can it bring relief to the farmer from the widespread agrarian distress? Deciphering Budget 2018 with some of India's sharpest economic minds. You can also watch these speakers live at Business Today website (

Some of the panelists discussing these issues are:

Nitin Desai, former Chief Economic Advisor

Mihir Sharma, Economist

Prof. Santosh Mehrotra, Prof of Economics, JNU

Prasenjit Bose, Economist

Sanjeev Ahluwalia, Advisor, Observer Research Foundation

A Chibbar, Chief Economic Adviser, FICCI

Ajay V Jakhar, Chairman, Farmers' Forum of India

Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI

Abhishek A Rastogi, Director, PwC India


12:51pm: Rajdeep Sardesai: The Budget seems to show 'rob the rich, pay the poor' policy.

12:49pm: Ajay Jakhar: Not an election year budget. Expect another budget before 2019 elections.

12:33pm: Prof. Santosh Mehrotra: Jaitley has very good new ideas: cluster development for food processing to Rs 1400 crore from Rs 750 crore.

Agricultural diversification, new fund for fishery and animal husbandry a good news.

12:29pm: Rajeev Dubey: Hybrid instruments for startups will help them go public through convertible bonds.

Fiscal deficit busted. It is clear the government wants to defer the fiscal deficit for at least two years.

12:18pm: Rajeev Dubey: Aggressive plan on disinvestment of Rs 1 lakh cr for this year, Rs 80,000 crore for next year.

12:14pm: Mihir Sharma: Watch the healthcare companies' stocks. If they shoot up, that means they expect that we will be transferring public resources to them.

12:12pm: Rajeev Dubey: Will the government ban bitcoin? No decision on cryptocurrencies yet.

12:08pm: Mihir Sharma: So a poor-focused, catastrophic health protection scheme. Great! But if it means that govt pays for private healthcare profits this will be a fiscal DISASTER.

12:05pm: Rajdeep Sardesai: First reactions focus on agriculture, infra, health, education, women. Arun Jaitley is pressing all the right buttons. Key now is to translate outlays into outcomes! Big headline so far: ambitious health insurance scheme.

12:03pm: Nitin Desai: Proposal to increase help for hospitalization of the poor to Rs 5 lakh is welcome.

12:00pm: Abhishek A Rastogi: Approving loans for MSMEs by linking the data with the GSTN is an innovative thought that will expedite the process and remove working capital hurdle.

11:58am: Rajdeep Sardesai: It's a social sector Budget.

11:55am: Abhishek A Rastogi, Director, PwC India: The Budget looks like a popilist one with a lot of focus on agriculture sector and food processing sector. The focus will remain on the rural area and poor people. This was expected due to general elections in 2019.

11:53am: Prof. Santosh Mehrota: RSBY increase for hospitalisation for poor from Rs 30,000 per household increased to Rs 5 lakh. Also increase of coverage of poor is targeted. very good news for poor but it could also be bonanza for health insurance companies.

11:48am: Rajeev Dubey: The Budget till now is all about rural, women, and social empowerment.

11:47am: Rajeev Dubey: The Budget speech indicates government's focus on the rural sector to create more jobs and thus improve their poll prospects.

11:42 am: Rajdeep Sardesai: It is interesting how the FM's budget speech till now sends a message that it is revolved around appeasing voters considering polls in 2019.

11:39am: Prasenjit Bose: We need to check the Budget numbers to see whether the allocation for the farmers and the poor actually match the rhetoric.

11:37am: Ajay Jakhar: The announcement of C2+50 per cent of all kharif crops is a good news.

Rs 10,000 crore infra fund for fisheries, aqua culture, and animal husbandry will help in providing employment and increase income.

11:29am: Rajeev Dubey: The focus on farm income shows the government wants to pump more money on the rural and the agricultural sector.

11:25am: Nitin Desai: The implementation of Madhya Pradesh Model on MSP will help the sector but certainly it will take time.

11:24am: Rajdeep Sardesai: The first sign of the PM's big plan to reduce agrarian crises has reflected on the Budget.

11:18am: Ajay Jakhar: The announcement on 50 per cent hike on MSP can help the sector.

10: 57am: Rajeev Dubey: In terms of private investment, we are still a year away to call it a rebound of the economy.

10:50am: Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI: People are seeing growth in India as a positive cycle for growth and coming for investment. Economy is the rebound. The FM can give a real boost.

10: 49am: Rajdeep Sardesai: PM keeps talking about the ease of doing business, how is the rhetoric going to change the reality on the Ground. Because right now the situation is that foreign companies would rather go to Philippine than India.

10: 24am: Rajeev Dubey: To increase farm income, there's also need to put more money on the farmers' hand.

10:24am: Ajay Jakhar: Don't think Indian income tax rates are high. The issue is many people don't actually pay taxes, which is the biggest drawback. One of them is large action of farmers. Badals, who are large farmers, don't pay taxes at all. I don't know why they should not be taxed.

10:23am: Rajdeep Sardesai: A greater focus on the fine print of Budget can work more appropriately or in a better way in favour of the government.

10: 22am: Ajay Jakhar: There's a need to give more focus on agricultural universities. Posts are lying vacant in these universities, and since it is not fancy, no one seems to be talking about it.

10: 21am: Prasenjit Bose: Unlike many other exporters in the world, the MSME has the larger proportion of exports. If government wants to actually promote Make in India, then export-oriented trust towards MSME sector should be built upon.

10: 20am: A Chibbar, Chief Economic Adviser, FICCI: People are worried about oil price, but we have seen half of the oil surge has been passed on to customers. The Budget should help MSME and other small sectors.

10: 19am: Mihir Sharma, Economist: The economy is too burdened to release sector-wise packages.

10:18am: Prof. Santosh Mehrotra, Economist: The FM needs to do something for the MSMEs sector. Most MSMEs like handloom or handcraft are part of an unorganised sector and the ministry has a small budget overall, and it is also going cluster development. Chinese managed to grow their industry via a cluster development. There is a need for bigger financial package for cluster development.

9.30am: Prasenjit Bose: The Economic Survey claimed that the effect of demonetisation is now over, but I think it is still not out of the woods.

9:30am: Sanjeev Ahluwalia, Advisor, Observer Research Foundation: It's not the growth issue Prime Minister Narendra Modi would like to delve much into while dealing with the agricultural issues.

9.20am: Ajay V Jakhar, Chairman, Farmers' Forum of India: Looking at the stock market for claiming that people's lives are changing - the way the Congress party used to - is wrong, and could not play well in government's favour.

9.15am: Prasenjit Bose: The government should first come out of the denial mode. It has not been able to accept the crisis of private investment. Without solving the bad loan problem, we can't come out of these crises.

9.10am: Nitin Desai, Ex-chief economist: The whole idea behind the photo ceremony, in which the Finance Minister takes photos with his briefcase, is to show the secrecy of the Budget.

9.05am: Prasenjit Bose, Economist: With prices of petrol and diesel going off the roof, it is inevitable for the government to put oil under the GST.