I would characterise this Budget as a series of positive steps - rather than a big-bang - to revive growth and clearly lay the building blocks not only for this fiscal but beyond. Fiscal consolidation has been given a priority and it is good to see aggressive deficit targets being maintained.
There is welcome focus on growth. The investment allowance given to smaller entrepreneurs in any new plant and machinery is a big positive. The thrust on infrastructure - the break to infrastructure companies in terms of power plants, airports, ports and railways, etc. and encouraging banks to engage in long-term infrastructure financing - should foster growth. Additionally, the support through tax breaks to the consumer will encourage retail investment in the housing sector. The clarity on tax issues with the application of capital gains tax will clear ambiguity that existed around taxation issues, particularly to FIIs investing in India and facilitate their more transparent entry to the Indian market.
There has been some unfulfilled expectation of international investing community on Retrospective Tax not being done away with but the constitution of a high-level committee to review such cases should provide some assurance.
Regional chief executive, India & South Asia,
Standard Chartered Bank