Does the Budget address the distress caused by the pandemic?
A significant increase in allocation towards capital expenditure, healthcare support, an extension of affordable housing deduction, social security benefits for gig workers and various measures to raise financing for infrastructure have been proposed to benefit a wide section.
Will this Budget help the economy and create jobs?
The government has emphasised increasing capital expenditure and infrastructure spending in our economy to create jobs. The Budget proposes capex spending of Rs 5.54 trillion for FY22, an increase of 34.5 per cent YoY. Also, various initiatives like the tax-efficient zero coupon bonds for notified infra debt funds and the introduction of a bill to set up a Development Finance Institution for infrastructure financing would help create jobs.
What is the best thing about the Budget? And the worst?
The best thing in the Budget is no tinkering in direct and indirect tax, and no reference of wealth tax with no change in capital gain taxes.
Another good thing is the announcement of converting two public sector banks and an insurance company into private entities. This is a symbolic but great direction. The bad thing is no plan on how to revive the economy and employment, and no concrete plan on healthcare.
If you were the Finance Minister, what would you have done with the Budget?
If I was FM, I would have proposed to tax a wider population. I would have bolstered the stock market (after the result today no bolstering was required) by relooking at capital gains, and above all made concrete plans for key manufacturing sectors that generate employment.
The government has launched a plan of mega investment textile parks, which will be in addition to the Production-Linked Scheme and position India as a fully integrated, globally competitive manufacturing and exporting textile hub. With this introduction, I am certain that the textile ministry under Smriti Irani will be able to provide a platform for the exporters and industry to compete with international markets.