Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday unveiled a largely pro-poor budget, increasing social spending and farm credit in a bid to revive the rural economy without over-spending.
Jaitley shunned populism while balancing the key priorities of investment, growth and jobs in a Budget eyeing reforms.
In his second full Budget, the finance minister sent out an unambiguous signal: despite electoral setbacks and an aggressive Opposition, the government remained firm on reforms.
But his proposals on Monday courted criticism equally as praise, with Opposition leaders saying that there was no immediate stimulus that will create disposable income or create new jobs.
The former Prime Minister said that it was a “mixed bag budget, no big idea.” He also said it was impossible to double farmers’ income in a span of 5 years.
Manish Tewari, Congress leader
“FM presented a piece of rhetoric which will contribute to the shrinking of economy”
#budget2016 high on rhetoric,flawed on comparison,low on imagination, bereft of ideas,services oligarchs,constricts freedom of RBI.DEAD SCUD— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) 29 February 2016
Kamal Nath, Congress leader
“There is no immediate stimulus to create disposable income in hands of people or generate employment. I think the middle class should have got more relief”
Shashi Tharoor, Congress leader
“Government has painted a very general picture, have adopted many old policies of UPA”
Rajnath Singh, Union home minister
“Congratulations to the Finance Minister Shri @arunjaitley on presenting an excellent Union Budget for the fiscal year 2016-17. It is pro farmer, pro poor and pro reform budget. It outlines the priorities of this government and the vision of Prime Minister Shri Modi”
Congratulations to the Finance Minister Shri @arunjaitley on presenting an excellent Union Budget for the fiscal year 2016-17.— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) 29 February 2016
It is pro farmer, pro poor and pro reform budget. It outlines the priorities of this government and the vision of Prime Minister Shri Modi— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) 29 February 2016
Kiran Bedi, BJP leader
“Very holistic specific solutions being offered to pending tax litigations by Finance Minister. @Arunjaitely. Can be used to resolve now”
Very holistic specific solutions being offered to pending tax litigations by Finance Minister. @Arunjaitely. Can be used to resolve now— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) 29 February 2016
Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister
“Yes the FM has passed the test, there is something for everyone in this budget. Agar aap ameeron se thoda lekar aur ghareebon ke dene ka kaam kar rahe hain toh ye acchi baat hai (If you are taking a little from the rich and giving it to the poor it is a good thing).”
Radha Mohan Singh, Union agriculture minister
“Azadi ke baad ye pehla budget hai jo gaon, kisaan, ghareeb ke liye samarpit hai (This is the first Budget since Independence that is dedicated to the villages, farmers and the poor).”
Read: Budget 2016: Jaitley says no to populism, rural economy in focus
Nitin Gadkari, minister of road transport and highways
“For the first time in the history, more than Rs 1 lakh crore is allocated to development of roads. It’s historic.”
Radhika Rao, economist, DBS, Singapore
“It is encouraging to see that fiscal discipline has been given priority at today’s budget, though we await the fine-print. Budgetary assumptions, especially nominal GDP growth will be key. Implementation of the pay commission proposals is also unclear in the speech, so more details are also sought here. Focus on rural/ social sector spending and roads/ highways are along expected lines and positive. But less-than-expected support for banks’ recapitalisation has disappointed. Services tax was left unchanged and long-term capital gains tax fears were left misplaced.”
Atsi Sheth, associate managing director, Sovereign Risk Group, Moody’s Investors Service
“They have stuck to the fiscal deficit target. We always said fiscal consolidation would continue, but slowly, and that’s indeed what the finance minister’s budget is saying.”
Yoginder K Alagh, farm expert and former member of Planning Commission
“These steps will help our millions of farmers recover from the rough patch they have been going through but the government will have to raise its allocation for the crop insurance scheme, as the gap between farmers’ cost on farming and their loss, if any, is huge. Although I welcome higher allocation for irrigation, we need to see its implementation. The government has been raising its irrigation spending every year, but we’ve failed to bring any extra area under irrigation facility. How does higher allocation help then?”
Read: Budget 2016: 4-month window for black money holders to come clean
RC Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki
“The vehicle manufacturers are being directed to get to Euro 6 by 2020 and vehicles contribute so little to pollution. Main pollutant in Delhi for example is PM 2.5, which is dust. Cars only contribute 2 percent to that according to IIT Kanpur study. So why only cars are being targeted for pollution, especially when they are being pushed to incur the higher cost for Euro 6 is something which is difficult to understand and accept as being fair and reasonable.”
“As a common man, I can say he has concentrated elaborately on all aspects.”
Jaitley’s daughter Sonali
“Full marks to the Union Budget 2016.”
D Raja, CPI
“Outside the budget, they promised a lot to the corporate sector. Not evident now. Nothing spectacular in the budget.”
Lalu Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief
“PM Modi said he will double the income of farmers by 2022. What is the guarantee? Promise of doubling farmer income to 2022, want to secure their ‘berth’ till then, the government will fall in 2019.”
Krishna Kumar Karwa, managing director, Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd
“The budget has been along expected lines with enhanced focus on agriculture, rural India, infrastructure and social sector. The adherence to fiscal deficit target of 3.5% is a huge positive and will send right signals across the globe and will probably nudge the RBI for a rate cut. From a capital market perspective there is a huge sense of relief that long term capital gains tax is status quo.”
However, increase STT on options and dividend tax on above 10 lakh dividend receipts is disappointing. The allocation of Rs 25,000 crore for bank recapitlisation is slightly disappointing though the FM has assured that if required they will provide more resources.
To summarise, a balanced budget in light of global uncertainty and gives the necessary thrust to revive rural economy.