Has Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman steered the economy out of the woods?
More or less the Budget is status quo. It has no imagination. For me “nutrition” is above all and by nutrition I mean both the physical and mental stimulation of people. But most of the experts say this Budget doesn’t take care of that sort of “nutrition” for India.
Is this a populist, please-all Budget?
I am not an expert but for me, unless the Budget triggers employment and innovation and creativity, it is not effective. I don’t see it as “this government versus that government,” and I think this has been the case for the last 20 years.
Will it help the economy, create jobs, restart stalled projects?
If people become physically secure and mentally imaginative, then nothing will stop the country. But for long our education budgets have been going down and most of our universities are not being funded well, in most laboratories science is not being encouraged. There will come a situation where all the patents will lie abroad and for everything India will be forced to look elsewhere. If the push to manufacture and “Make in India” works, I would be happy.
What was the best thing about the Budget? And the worst?
It is good that there are reforms in personal tax. To trigger creativity in cinema, the making of films has to become cheaper too. I have been saying this for 25 years but why are we still taxing people for going to a cinema hall? All the taxes in cinema, because we pay taxes through our nose, should be scrapped. I think cinema should be tax free. Except, of course, for those of us
who make money from it and must pay the relevant income taxes. Also, we are in a climate emergency. I think India should go solar, so the policies encouraging solar power are necessary.