This was an interim budget, so not much was expected, but I think the finance minister has made some good announcements and the advice he gave for the next government was also good. The numbers for the current year are well contained, and the target for the next year was also very good. The reduction in excise duty on a few items is a very welcome step because those sectors have been doing quite poorly. All in all, I think it a very well done budget.
However, I cannot comment on the price decline immediately. Excise duty is an add-on. It is not included in our prices. There is nothing specific for small and medium enterprises. We will have to wait for the new budget, which should encourage growth in manufacturing.
Some issues remain unaddressed but in an interim budget we can't expect announcements like these, in fact I was not expecting as many announcements of change in taxes, etc, which the finance minister made.
If you have to contain fiscal deficit, you have to cut expenditure somewhere. You have to decide whether inflation affects growth more or something else affects growth more. I think for the moment it is very important to cut expenditure.
Since this was an interim budget, it cannot touch all the issues. It is supposed to actually touch very few issues, supposed to carry expenditure of the government for the next few months. So considering that many points that were not even expected have been taken care of.
If the next government continues excise duty cuts in consumer durables it will be useful, unless some other steps are taken to encourage growth and demand. For example if the GST is introduced, then we don't need excise cuts. So it depends on what else is done by the next government.
Adi Godrej is chairman, Godrej Group. He spoke to Priyanka Sahay