C K Ranganathan: Path-breaking steps to address aam aadmi’s issues

Keeping in step with the development mantra, the Modi government’s first budget is a long-term, growth oriented and well intended document. At the same time, it has also fairly addressed the immediate concerns of the aam aadmi, corporate entities, capital market, general trade and investors alike.

The fiscal prudence of the government is sought to be showcased by its willingness to adhere to 4.1 per cent fiscal deficit in 2014-15, 3.7 per cent in 2015-16 and 3 per cent in 2016-17; the proposal to reach GDP growth rates of 7-8 per cent in three years; boldness in setting up of the Expenditure Commission; a relook at the overall subsidy regime, higher allocation to defence, commitment towards GST and new tax code regime as well as the desire to bring in FDI including in defence and insurance sectors.

Under the prevalent inflationary economic conditions, tax sops given to the salaried class by increasing exemption limits from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh, additional tax deduction of Rs 1 lakh in the form of 80C and home loan interest subsidy, would indeed enhance his purchasing power. Same would be the case of senior citizens and retired class who will benefit by the enhanced tax exemption of Rs 3 lakh per annum, apart from assured minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month. The government’s initiative in enhancing technical skills through Skill India and opportunities for higher and advanced education in the new AIIMSs, IITs and IIMs would enhance the employability of the youth.

The initiatives in the budget announcement, notably those related to assurance of 24x7 electricity, clean drinking water, homes and sanitation for all coupled with education and infrastructure proposed for farmers and rural folk will surely enhance the happiness index of the aam aadmi. The proposal for introduction of a venture capital fund with an initial corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to seed fund budding entrepreneurs could take the business potential of emerging India to greater heights.

Innovative and path-breaking initiatives like advance tax ruling for the corporate sector, mechanism for periodic addressing of industry issues by the tax administration, settlement commission for resolving old issues, assurance on no retrospective tax, quick introduction of GST & Tax Code will all enhance the ease of conduct of business by Indian companies and the business class.

Last, but not the least, the opening up of FDI in defence, insurance, e-commerce, enhanced spends on national highways, rural roads, power generation, industrial corridors and setting up of scientific warehousing facilities will tremendously increase the business potential of Indian companies.

Overall, the government seems to have taken steps in right earnest towards fulfilling the dream of ‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikas.

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