As I began my day today, I was a bit sceptic about the upcoming budget. After all, the world has been battling with a relentless pandemic with no respite. Life, as we knew it, had changed forever. Even developed nations have been struggling, with austerity looking inevitable. I was wondering whether this budget would do enough to spur demand and growth.
After the budget, I feel a true sense of happiness. There is ambition, resolution and a fair bit of innovation in the way the FM has approached this budget. The ambition is in the disinvestment plan, a staggering Rs 175,000 crore proposal that aims to unleash a host of NPAs from the government’s custody.
The resolution comes through measures on increasing transparency, reducing litigation and easing tax procedures, which are a welcome continuation of steps the FM had initiated when she came into the job.
The innovation lies in the manner in which the books are balanced with zero incremental taxation!
The initiatives on tax holidays, allowing ‘one person companies’ and customs duty rationalisation are great steps that will give a boost to start-ups, MSMEs and the Make in India movement. It is well thought out with solutions for real problems that these businesses face. For the infra sector, I see some serious action in the form of spending, raising capital and enabling public-private partnerships. All this augurs well for the rise of India in the new world order, that FM Sitharaman mentioned in her speech.
It was one of the toughest times in history to announce a budget. The mood was marginally short of melancholic owing to the Covid pandemic and many were expecting the budget to be a means to bridge the government’s revenue gap. This budget has turned out to be a booster dose with a cocktail of public welfare measures, infrastructure development and a sound economic agenda.
(Harsh Goenka is chairman of RPG Enterprises. The views expressed are personal.)