The 2017-18 union budget was presented by Arun Jaitley at the Lok Sabha on 1st February 2017. This was the fourth budget presented by the Indian Government headed by Narendra Modi. During the budget presentation, Jaitley – the Union Finance Minister – made it quite clear that the demonetization initiative would not have a long-term impact on the national economy as such. At the same time he also announced that a greater amount of INR 184,632 crore had been allocated to welfare programmes being run for children and women by the different ministries. This was also a joint budget, one where the railway budget was presented along with the national budget.
Focus of railways
It is expected that in the upcoming financial year Indian Railways will place greater emphasis on safety of passengers, cleanliness, and capital works among the various areas that need to be looked at with greater urgency and importance. The budget, as usual, elicited some mixed responses, Navin Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha, said that he had been expecting some more benefits for the common man but clearly came away disappointed on that front. However, Radha Mohan Singh, the Union Agriculture Minister, feels that the new budget will only make things better for the farmers.
Singh feels that with the dairy processing infrastructure fund to be set up farmers’ conditions will only improve. He has also conveyed his thanks to Narendra Modi. Pankaj Patel, the President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), feels that the budget would make Indian economy a lot stronger. He feels that it is headed in the right direction and is prudent from a fiscal point of view. It also makes the administrative system of national government stronger than before. In fact, Jaitley has been congratulated by FICCI for the vision he has shown through the budget.
What does FICCI feel?
FICCI opines that apart from guaranteeing economic growth the union budget makes sure that there is a sense of justice to the economic system at large. It feels that without inclusion growth feels almost like a debt and this is one area where the new budget has done well. Prashant Pillai, the Director-Corporate Segment of Thomson Reuters has stated that in the year that went by the national government had taken a number of initiatives and all of them aimed at inclusive growth. He said how pleased the organization was in seeing that India had a clear strategy plan for its economy.
Good days ahead?
Thomson Reuters has expressed satisfaction at the way India is stressing so emphatically on good governance. In fact, Pillai feels that with the new budget a step has been taken in the right direction. The micro, small, and medium enterprises have received some significant boost and the tax base has been widened further only. It has also praised the way efforts are being made to create an economy that is more compliant with the tax structure. The organization has also expressed relief at how the development of a technology platform for the goods and services tax (GST) has kept pace with expectations.
Expectations for the future
According to Thomson Reuters the next few years will be critical as far as corporations are concerned since they would need to build the sort of technology infrastructure that can keep pace with various changes. It feels that 2017 could be a year of transformation for India from the point of view of tax regimes. Tilak Raj Seth, Head Mobility, Siemens Limited, as well as Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s Rail Transportation & Equipment Division, feels that the budget has taken good steps in boosting the railway sector.