Finance Minister did well to steer clear of poll-bound populism

New Delhi: It may be said that India and its economy have been able to pull it off in a better manner than many other global economies and is one of the fastest growing economies. The Union Budget being the last full Budget before next year’s general elections scheduled in April-May 2024, it was expected that it would be a populist one, as is the norm for vote bank politics.

Surprisingly, and thankfully, it was not the case. The Budget was well thought out, progressive, growth oriented and had a lot for various segments of the society.

It had the woman and child at heart, along with education and health for all at affordable rates, sanitation and water for every household, relief in income tax with basic exemption limit being raised and massive investment in capex, infrastructure, railways and Make in India.

Coming to the aspects which were liked by the market, the biggest of them all is the fact that a massive Rs 10 lakh crore has been earmarked for capex. This is over and above another Ra 2.4 lakh crore for the Railways.

This would ensure a multiplier effect as the capex would lead to multiple benefits with roads, infrastructure etc. leading to better utilisation and movement of produce from producing centres to consuming centres. To this end, the government has identified and would set up 100 transport infrastructure hubs for better end-to-end connectivity for user industries.

The increase in basic exemption limit from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh and change in the tax slab rates is a step in pushing the without exemption returns filing increasing.

The new rates would ensure nil tax for people earning up to Rs 7 lakh under the new tax regime.

This huge savings would give a push to demand from the middle class and help sustain the momentum going forward.

Ever since the Russia-Ukraine war, there has been a slowdown in the gem and jewellery trade because of a shortage of rough diamonds. India being a large or probably the largest cutting and polishing partner for rough diamonds globally was badly affected.

The ‘lab-grown’ diamond industry, though, has picked up in the country quite successfully. To further encourage this segment, the government has cut the import duty on lab seed which is needed to grow the diamond

Image courtesy of thesatimes

Share this post