Will finance minister bite the reforms bullet?

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 16, 2012 02:43 IST
  • Income tax

    In this year's budget the finance minister may raise the income tax exemption limit to Rs. 3 lakh from the existing Rs. 1.8 lakh. (Reuters)

  • Education

    The UPA government has almost doubled the allocation for its flagship school education scheme - the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan - in the last six years. ...

  • The budget is expected to address the challenge of taking advantage of the demographic dividend, with the average age of an Indian likely to be 29 ...

  • Automakers

    Automakers are bracing for a possible tax of up to Rs. 80,000 on diesel cars to partially help fuel retailers for selling fuel at below ...

  • Thermal coal

    Import duty on thermal coal may be scrapped to give a boost to power companies. (Reuters)

  • Retail

    Roeland Park Police officer Mark Engravalle let off a homeless mother for theft and bought nappies and shoes for her children with his own money. ...

  • IT industry

    IT industry is lobbying for an extension of tax holiday, especially for small and medium firms to cope with pricing pressures and lower margins. (Reuters)

  • Defence

    In the Union Budget 2011 the defence budget was hiked by 11.6% to Rs. 164,415 crore. This year experts expect a hike around 10%. (Reuters)

  • Agriculture

    The budget is expected to give a thrust to micro irrigation, come up with initiatives to promote foreign investment in cold chains and regularly monitor ...

  • Healthcare

    Hospitals and healthcare companies expect extension of tax holiday in tier-II and III towns to 10 years from 5 years. (Reuters)

All eyes will be on finance minister Pranab Mukherjee as he presents Budget 2012-13 buffeted by compulsions of coalition politics, a shaky domestic economy and the persisting global economic crisis.

Amid the growing chorus of a policy paralysis, criticism over scandals and concerns over a slowing economy, a question mark looms over whether he will announce reformist measures, including politically sensitive ones like FDI in retail and pensions.

Mukherjee might have good news for the salaried class, with indications he might marginally raise the income tax exemption limit by Rs 20,000 to Rs 2 lakh per annum.

Shreyas Navare's take on the Budget!

This is aimed at leaving more money in the hands of people stung by inflation and in an economy that's staring at the prospect of a sustained slowdown.

The Economic Survey, tabled in Parliament on Thursday, said growth would gather speed over the next two years, but radical policy changes, including FDI in retail and availability of farm land for the industry, were needed.

The survey pegged the annual economic growth at about 7.6% in 2012-13 and 8.6% in the year after.

The survey obliquely hinted that political compulsions had forced a delay in reforms in key areas.

"There were also the pressures of democratic politics, which slowed reforms," it said.

But question marks hung over how many of the survey's intentions could fructify. Similar recommendations in the past have not always found reflection in the Budget.

"It (the survey) is a vital input for preparation of the Budget. I view this Economic Survey as a vehicle for new ideas and alternative policy options," said Mukherjee.

According to former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, "The finance minister should cut expenditure left and right. In eight years, this government has gone on increasing expenditure and shown no discipline."

Battle line not yet drawn | Buyers hope Pranab will make housing within their budget | FM may raise allocation for health and education | Budget wish: Rs 200 cr more for CCTV cover | A make or break budget | Delhi cops seek bigger fund to pay informers

 

 

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