Much of what the Union Budget has delivered, on the revenue side in particular, has been expected for some time. In particular, the move to a negative list in services - widening the tax net - has been long delayed. As Table 1 shows, the output of the services sector has only grown as a percentage of GDP; yet taxes on services industries comprise a much smaller proportion of the total tax intake of the government.
Some other revenue targets, however, are more ambitious and less credible. Is Rs 40,000 crore from disinvestment really achievable? As Table 2 shows, this is the highest target figure yet - and most disinvestment targets have been missed by a mile, anyway.
Meanwhile, direct tax exemptions continue to rise. Under the UPA, the lowest exemption level for income tax has doubled in six years, as Table 3 lays out. Public finance theorists prefer direct to indirect taxes, as the latter can worsen inequality and introduce greater inefficiencies.(Click here for graph)
The expenditure accounts in this Budget also reveal a concern about fiscal consolidation, but are generally accounted less credible. Growth in non-Plan expenditure, according to the Budget estimates, will be constrained at approximately the same level it was last year. But this follows many years in which the UPA recklessly increased this component, as Table 4 shows.
In addition, the finance minister assured the House that subsidies would be capped at two per cent of GDP, a level marked in blue on Table 5 - which shows, also, how controlling that level can be very difficult, even for non-fuel subsidies.
This Budget was not seen as either a massive positive or a great disappointment. As Table 6 shows, it moved the market on Budget Day less than most of the other budgets presented by the UPA.