No Budget can meet all its projections, nor can it satisfy all sections given that it is only an estimate of interdependent revenues and expenses, based on which the economy is slated to achieve certain parameters during the next year. In the Budget presented by Nirmala Sitharaman, a fiscal deficit of 3.8 per cent of the GDP, is inevitable, considering the need to step up consumption and investment to stimulate growth in a slowing economy. Other estimates, such as 20 per cent increase in capital expenditure and a 15 per cent rise in revenue spending are optimistic, though the tax collection targets and those set for revenues from disinvestment and non-tax revenues seem to be unrealistic. Also, the marginal increase in defence outlay is disappointing considering the need to maintain a lean and mean army in a state of perpetual readiness. The IT relief provided to the salaried class and raising the insurance cover of bank deposits to Rs 5 lakh per bank customer is a big relief to depositors, especially senior citizens. As always, despite the laudable intentions, the extent to which the Budget projections are achieved will be known only as the fiscal year unfolds.
V Jayaraman, Chennai
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