Post-demonetisation Budget Is Not Bad
This refers to your cover story, The Missing Feel-good Factor (February 26 issue). The best that can be said about Budget 2017/18 is that it is not bad, which is actually a big compliment for the Modi government after its demonetisation decision. It has given a great push to affordable housing. The Budget proposal to launch a new health protection scheme is most welcome. The proposal for additional `30,000 health cover for senior citizens is good as it will reduce the burden of health-care expenditure for the aged. Special focus on digitisation will also prove to be an effective tool in shaping the future of the economy. Doubling farmers' income is an inspiring idea. Given the fact that 56 per cent of the countrys population is engaged in agriculture and indebtedness is leading to a large number of farmer suicides, agriculture distress has led the government to take certain bold steps to double farmers' income by 2020. However, to measure income levels, innovative big data techniques should be leveraged.
Vinod C. Dixit, Ahmedabad
Honest Taxpayers' Expectations Belied
This refers to your Budget article High Five (Feb 26). The Budget has evoked mixed reactions from economy watchers and miffed reactions from commoners. The columns of proven experts skilfully ventured to show the underlying currents of budgetary thrusts and lack of any drive for stimulating economic development. The intended pace of infrastructure development does not match that of emerging economies such as China. The last-mile digital connectivity is still lost in the woods of unimplemented conduits, high tariffs, and undifferentiated speed between 3G and 4G platforms. The Budget also does not meet the expectations of honest taxpayers.
B. Rajasekaran, Bangalore
Trumped! in the United States
This refers to your Focus piece, Totally Trumped, in the February 26 issue. Without doubt, the US administration's move on H-1B visas and protectionist rhetoric are bad news for India's information technology (IT) exports. The prime minister would do well to take up the industry's case with the new US president. He must be made to understand that in this globalised world, putting up barriers to doing business will eventually harm not just others but companies in his country too. After all, as the piece pointed out, India's IT sector provides 4,11,000 jobs in the US. It also provides technical services to 75 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies and is, in a way, indispensible to the way businesses run in the US and other parts of the world. The IT industry should meet US policymakers to explain how it helps keep their economy competitive.
Rajesh Sharma, New Delhi