The Budget has not disappointed, despite the sky-high expectations. It has not succumbed to populism even after the BJP's loss in the Delhi elections. The Modi-Jaitley team's real achievement is to effectively dispel the myth that growth and public welfare cannot go together. The cumulative impact of the large number of reformist measures will be significant in the coming years.
The emphasis on infrastructure investment is among the important features. This is reflected in the higher allocation of Rs 70,000 crore to infrastructure; establishment of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund with a seed capital of Rs 20,000 crore and the issuing of tax-free infrastructure bonds. The setting up of MUDRA bank, with a seed capital of Rs 20,000 crore, and the Rs 3,000-crore credit guarantee corpus will improve access to formal credit markets for the 57 million micro, small and medium enterprises.
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The Budget has provided long-term stability in the tax regime by fixing the date for the implementation of the GST and announcing a phased reduction in corporate taxation, along with the elimination of exemptions. I wish the finance minister had outlined the way on shifting fertiliser and food subsidies to direct cash transfers and winding up of the Food Corporation of India.
Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research