This Article is From Feb 29, 2016

Arun Jaitley Unveils a Budget for the Poor: What Experts Say

Arun Jaitley Unveils a Budget for the Poor: What Experts Say

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presenting Union Budget for financial year 2016-17 in Parliament on Monday

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unveiled a budget for the poor on Monday, announcing new rural aid and health programmes in a strategy shift that could boost his ruling party in coming state elections.

Here's what experts said:

MACRO

Radhika Rao, economist, DBS, Singapore:


"It is encouraging to see that fiscal discipline has been given priority at today's budget, though we await the fine-print. Budgetary assumptions, especially nominal GDP growth will be key. Implementation of the pay commission proposals is also unclear in the speech, so more details are also sought here. Focus on rural/social sector spending and roads/highways are along expected lines and positive. But less-than-expected support for banks' recapitalisation has disappointed. Services tax was left unchanged and long-term capital gains tax fears were left misplaced."

Ashtosh Raina, head-FX, HDFC Bank, Mumbai:

"Really excellent budget. The adherence to fiscal discipline, with emphasis on growth and development, increasing infrastructure spending... are key elements of this year's budget."

BANKS

Milind Kothari, managing partner and head-direct tax, BDO India, Mumbai:

"The allocation for bank capitalisation of Rs 25,000 crore is only a patch on the Rs 1,80,000 crore that the Economic Survey has identified as the need of this vital sector. The banking sector has a major role to play in spurring private investment which is lacking and without which the all-round economic revival is not a possibility."

AGRICULTURE

Yoginder K Alagh, farm expert and former member, Planning Commission:

"These steps will help our millions of farmers recover from the rough patch they have been going through but the government will have to raise its allocation for the crop insurance scheme, as the gap between farmers' cost on farming and their loss, if any, is huge."

"Although I welcome higher allocation for irrigation, we need to see its implementation. The government has been raising its irrigation spending every year, but we've failed to bring any extra area under irrigation facility. How does higher allocation help then?"

AUTOMOBILES

R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki, New Delhi:


"The vehicle manufacturers are being directed to get to Euro 6 by 2020 and vehicles contribute so little to pollution. Main pollutant in Delhi for example is PM 2.5, which is dust. Cars only contribute 2 per cent to that according to IIT Kanpur study. So why only cars are being targeted for pollution, especially when they are being pushed to incur the higher cost for Euro 6 is something which is difficult to understand and accept as being fair and reasonable."

HEALTHCARE

Vrinda Mathur, partner, Grant Thornton India LLP, Noida:


"The comments on (health) insurance are quite welcome. While the spending on healthcare has gone up, we'll have to wait and see how many of the initiatives announced actually see the light of the day... that's a question mark right now."
© Thomson Reuters 2016


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