India Budget 2018
Budget 2018 is a holistic one with the Government selecting a combination of benefits, targeted spending and fiscal prudence to put the Indian economy on an accelerated growth trajectory. The lion’s share of the attention has gone towards revitalizing the stressed rural sector – be it the allocation of INR 1400 Crore towards developing 42 state of the art food parks or the stated intent of spending INR 1.4 Trillion on developing rural infrastructure, the Government has left no stone unturned to ensure a representative participation of the Indian hinterland in the country’s economic progress.
The Finance Minister’s special emphasis on Healthcare & Infrastructure spending will help boost economic growth and consequently aid in job creation. In addition, steps towards relieving the pains of the MSME sector through tax sops and easy access to credit from banks should bode well for job creation given the critical role the sector plays. While the Government’s effort to skill 1.3 million teachers is laudable, the skill development plan was lacking in detail both in terms of outlay and programs targeted. That being said, the INR 3,073 Crores allocated towards the Digital India campaign with specific investments to be made in up-skilling professionals in new age technologies like cyber-security and robotics was a welcome move.
This year’s budget, which was the first following the twin effects of both demonetization and GST reflects the systematic approach that this administration has taken towards making India an easier place to do business and an easier place to live. More importantly, the Government’s fiscal deficit target of 3.3% of GDP for the next year should burnish its reformist credentials. That being said most of the announcements made are long term in nature and should begin to show constructive results in the medium term.
[Paul Dupuis is the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Randstad India]