What became the hottest topic of discussion on February 2? Yes, you are right, Budget. From a private bus to office cabins or even the aunties of the locality: all became economists and came up with their critical views of the budget.
With this year’s budget being no big surprise, it focused more on Agricultural, Health, and Educational sector. Let’s hope for the effective and efficient implementation as well. However, there are a number of questions that are being asked:
Where will the government get the funds for all the schemes?
Why is there no particular benefit for salaried middle class?
Is this budget to impress farmers to win their vote bank?
Here we are with our view of the Budget 2018:
1. Acche Din comes with Acche Yojanas?
Mr Jaitley was ready with a list of Yojanas again. He promised free gas connection to eight crore poor women under Ujjwala Yojana and electric connection to four crore poor households under Saubhagya Yojana. And the showstopper was the National Healthcare Protection Scheme (supposed to be the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme). It promises to give Rs.5 Lakhs/family/year to 10 Crore vulnerable families of the nation. WAIT! As per the data presented by NITI Aayog, this scheme will require Rs5000 crores, but the amount allocated for the same by the government is just 2000 crores. The rest have to be generated by the state revenues. But if the raising of these state revenues will be an easy task or if it will be sufficient, remains a big question. Probably these schemes will bring Acche Din, but the implementation remains a big issue.
2. Concern for farmers or strategy for elections?
With the chaotic implementation of demonetization and its massive effect over the rural sector, Mr Jaitley stated that this year’s budget would mainly focus on strengthening the Agricultural and Rural economy. MSP is raised to 1.5*cost of production. PM Modi gave a clarion call to double farmer’s income by 2022. It can be regarded as a smart move by the government since this will help them in regaining farmer’s votes. But at the same time, no particular benefits are given to middle-class salaried people. Ops! This may disappoint them, and the party may lose its vote bank here.
3. An official statement for Cryptocurrency(FINALLY!!!)
The debate regarding Cryptocurrency was much in the limelight but while presenting the Union Budget 2018, Mr Jaitley clearly stated that government will not consider cryptocurrency as a legal tender and will take measures to eliminate the use of crypto assets which are being used in financing illegitimate activities. The bitcoin price was the highest in December which was $19,511. But soon after this statement was made, the Bitcoin’s price fell down to $7000.
Budget – In a Nutshell
Mr Jaitley stated that they target to bring down the Fiscal Deficit from 3.5% in 2017 to 3.3% in 2018. The same was 4.5% during the UPA government in 2013-14(Pat on Mr Jaitley’s back again!). The budget also came with schemes, implementation of which, if successful, will definitely complete the promise of Modi government’s acche din. The announcements made for Railways and Infrastructure sector are also beneficial for the overall development of the nation. However, the welfare from an increase in custom duty and lowering down of corporate tax can be questioned. Probably this is deliberately done to discourage imports and promote Make in India. ‘This measure will promote the creation of more jobs in the country’, the Finance Minister said.