A Union Budget is meant to provide a sense of direction. This budget is directionless. It is supposed to galvanise growth. But this budget is growthless. With a declining GDP growth rate, the least expectation was tax breaks for fresh investment. The FM could have declared a tax holiday for fresh investments but he didn’t.
With 25 million people entering the job market every year, where are the incentives for job creation?
Oh yes, the FM has provided incentives for companies that invest over Rs 100 crore. But, did nobody tell him that the biggest job growth is from the unorganised sector with investments of less than Rs 100 crore?
The FM admits the country needs foreign investment. Then why scare them away with the Mauritius clauses which have made all foreign institutional investors skittish?
The only promise of jobs appears to be in the affordable housing sector through tax breaks for purchasers and financial incentives for builders. Small mercy.
Yes, there are good intentions. The FM has promised to award 3,000 km of road contracts. The PPP model to improve domestic coal production is a good idea. But, has he consulted the environment ministry, the biggest bugbear for such projects?
The introduction of GST may help, but only if it is implemented. We have heard assurances about its implementation for several years now. As for the assurance that the current account deficit will reduce, despite a growth in plan expenditure, it is just a good thought. Another promise.
The idea of having a national skill certification examination through the NSDC is a great idea. But does the NSDC know how to conduct such exams? It does not even support skill development for self-employment or entrepreneurship. Someone has ill-advised the FM. No wonder, the budget is clueless as well.