There are two things that can be safely said about Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. He is brave and he measures allocations in units of Rs 100 crore. The bravado is obvious because in spite of levelling the charge of "fudging the figures" that he laid on his predecessor (P Chidambaram), when it came to the estimated fiscal deficit for this year, he has stuck to the old figure. Also, almost every good idea has been monetised at Rs 100 crore.
This, by the way, includes a Rs 100-crore bill for writing a report on the linking of rivers. The one thing that he kept hidden in his Budget speech is the government's focus on job creation. The tax cuts and their rationalisation should boost manufacturing but the FM didn't discuss its impact on job-creation. The boost to infrastructure, health, tourism and the talk about supporting start-ups are also important ways to generate jobs. This is of special significance when the economy is gearing for a drought-like situation and pressures on food inflation exist. If the minister wrote his own speech, he needs to hire someone; if someone else wrote it, that person should be replaced.
Subhashis Gangopadhyay Professor and Head of department of Economics, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar University