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Union Budget: Voices

M R Raghu
Senior VP – Research,
Kuwait Finacial Centre K.P.S.C (“Markaz”)

Strong points:
It is reassuring to see that this government has not announced any populist moves.
I would welcome a “careful and considered” step on important issues, than to pander to the “big bang” expectations of the media.
The FDI limit increase in insurance and defence, the intent to reduce fiscal deficit and end tax adventurism and focus on infrastructure spending to spur economic growth.

Weak points:
The biggest weakness of this budget is its disturbing silence on the issue of subsidies. At $43 billion, I was expecting the government to give some sense of direction here. If not addressed clearly, we still run the danger of a downgrade rating.
The dream like forecast on growth is not matched by credible explanations on how this will be achieved. Add to that is the ambitious target on privatisation which no government ever gets tired of announcing but very little action happens on the ground.

If I were Jaitley...
I would have taken steps to setup a high level committee with representations from each state to ensure that the process of implementing the Goods and Services Tax Act would be hassle free.

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