Expenditure on infrastructure is key to Union Budget 2015-16

So, all in all, infrastructure - social physical and financial - should be the thrust in the next decade, and this budget will have important signals towards how the current administration is thinking about them and making tradeoffs.

Gaurav Dalmia        Last Updated: February 11, 2015  | 19:19 IST

Gaurav Dalmia
As I see it, the Budget serves two purposes: First, it is an articulation of the government's finances and spending priorities. Second, it is a statement of macroeconomic environment, management and stability or risks and concerns. In this regard, from my lens, the year-to-year priorities do not change drastically.

My wish list from the Budget is:

First, to see how it will provide better government services - whether it is measured in terms of hospital beds per thousand people or number of teachers per thousand people or other metrics - and how it will spend money in these areas and how it might involve the private sector to fill the large need gaps of both quality of services and even 'quantity' of availability of services.

Second, expenditure on infrastructure and the complications of long gestation periods and long-term financing needs of such projects with attendant implications on the development of deep bond markets, will be important.

Third, if we have to get back to our natural fighting weight of 7 per cent GDP growth, how the financial sector - primarily balance sheets of banks and the management of the pension assets - are going to be strengthened, will be an important variable.

So, all in all, infrastructure - social physical and financial - should be the thrust in the next decade, and this budget will have important signals towards how the current administration is thinking about them and making tradeoffs.

Gaurav Dalmia is Chairman at Landmark Holdings.

As told to Sarika Malhotra

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