top news »
This budget was presented at a time when overall growth had fallen to a decade low, there were pressures on both the fiscal side and the external account, inflation was far from under control and investments were drying up, writes Naina Lal Kidwai
. Qualified support
On the indirect tax front, the finance minister has kept the peak rates of customs duty, excise duty and service tax unchanged. He expects to garner additional Rs. 4,700 crore in the current fiscal year through the implementation of various indirect tax proposals. Prashant Deshpande writes.
The overall backdrop to this year's budget is one that any finance minister (FM) would wish to avoid. On the macroeconomic front, the FM needed to address the major challenges of dwindling growth, stubborn inflation, high fiscal and current account deficits and falling savings rate.
The finance minister, P Chidambaram, managed to present a fairly balanced Union Budget. The stock markets initially treated the budget as a non-event. Vivan Sharan writes.
The Union Budget presented by P Chidambaram is remarkable in placing faces before figures. The finance minister's speech throughout emphasised the need for caring for women, children, youth and the poor. MS Swaminathan writes.
The dire predictions of the defence minister forecasting major cuts in the defence budget did not materialise, sweeping a wave of relief through the defence establishment.
Increasing excise tax on cigarettes is not enough and will not serve as any deterrent to cigarette smokers, said anti-tobacco activists.
Insurance companies are set to speed up their branch expansion plans in smaller towns following the finance minister's budget speech announcement that they would not be required to take approval from the regulator to open branches. Sachin Kumar
reports. Bharat, here I come
Shares of commercial vehicle manufacturers rose on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Friday, a day after the government announced a budgetary provision of Rs. 14,873 crore for Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) projects, mainly for the purchase of 10,000 buses. HT reports.
Finance minister P Chidambaram on Sunday dismissed fears that the 10% surcharge on the super-rich (people with incomes of over Rs. 1 crore a year) imposed in the Budget would drive rich people away from the country.