The expectations from the government and the Finance Minister are sky high. We are very hopeful that the government will show fresh thinking, imagination and boldness in delivering policies and programs that gives rocket speed to growth and development to this nation of a billion people.
Fiscal prudence, bringing down inflation, financial empowerment of states, incentivising insurance and social security and improving ease of doing business were the big agenda items of this Budget.
However, what the Budget lacked was the big push for entrepreneurship that can turn the Prime Minister's 'Make in India' initiative into a reality. We were expecting a strong impetus towards domestic demand creation that can lead to growth of India's manufacturing sector. Increase in service tax and excise duty will disincentivise consumption. Along with this, leaving the income tax slabs and rates unchanged is going to leave lesser money in the hands of the common man to spend on domestically produced goods and services.
Considering the fact that this is the first of the five Budgets that this government is going to place, the Finance Minister however has defined his agenda for the days ahead. He has reiterated the April 1, 2016 timeline for GST implementation, presented a firm roadmap to bring down fiscal deficit to 3 per cent, guaranteeing a predictable tax regime, and statements such as "our infrastructure doesn't match our growth ambition", "need to cut subsidy leakage, and not subsidies itself", and the intent to 'funding the unfunded' and providing them access to formal financial system. These are some indications of the commitments that the government plans to deliver on.