இந்த பட்ஜட்டில் நல்ல திட்டங்களையும் பெரிய மாற்றங்களையும் எதிர்பார்த்த மக்களுக்கு பெரிய ஏமாற்றமே கிடைத்தது. இன்றைய பொருளாதாரதில் சலுகைகளும், இலவசங்களும் தான் பெரிய குற்றவாளியாக் இருக்கும் பொழுது அதில் பெரிய மாற்றங்கள் இல்லாது வருத்தமாக உள்ளது.

வருமான வரி உச்சவரம்பை உயர்த்தியதன் முலம் வருமானம் இழப்பு அடைந்தநிலையில் முந்தைய அரசாங்கம் போல் பல பப்ளிக் செக்டர் கம்பெனிகளின் சேர்களை விற்கவும், அந்த கம்பெனிகளை டிவிடைண்ட் கொடுக்க சொல்லி அதில் பெறும் பணத்தையும் கொண்டு வருமானத்தை சரிகட்ட எண்ணுகின்றது. அது மட்டுமின்றி ஏறிகொண்டு இருகின்ற பெட்ரோல் விலை ஈராக் பிரச்சனை அகியவைகளால் அரசாங்கம் சொல்லுகின்ற ரிபார்ம் ஒரு சோதனையாக உள்ளது. மேலும்.....

 


In the run up to the elections, the NDA government had made it amply clear that it would embrace fiscal prudence. And shy away from mindless populism if voted to power. So, when the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, geared up to announce his maiden budget yesterday, expectations were high. But after listening to his fiscal road map plans, there was a big disappointment. 


Despite challenging situation, the FM did stick to his predecessor's target of curtailing fiscal deficit to 4.1% of GDP for the current year. It also rolled out an ambitious road map to bring the deficit down to about 3% by FY17. However, the mode by which he plans to achieve fiscal consolidation has bemused investors and economists alike.

Quite surprisingly, like his predecessor, he too is relying on disinvestment to fund the deficit. With market conditions improving, he may well achieve his disinvestment target of Rs 434 bn for the fiscal. Another area where he is trying to mirror his predecessor to plug the fiscal gap is by milking PSUs. He is budgeting Rs 278 bn as dividends from PSUs.

So, basically rather than cutting unnecessary expenditures, he too is relying on non-tax revenues as an interim measure. Even if we assume that he is able to milk PSUs dry, divestment is a tricky issue. And thus he could well fall short of his fiscal target.

What further reaffirms our belief that his fiscal math is a pipe dream is the fact that subsidies are pegged marginally higher than last year. He has also given a tax relief to individual tax payers thereby resulting in loss of revenue. Apart from that, he has allocated higher amount to plan and non-plan expenditure than in the interim budget.

With all expenditure heads rising and revenues being axed due to tax relief measures, we believe that the fiscal road map of the government is ambitious. Or rather ambiguous should we say.

While the fiscal policy statement highlighted that the focus will be on revenue side and the tax/GDP ratio should be improved, FM has done exactly the opposite. Perhaps he is banking on tax reforms like GST and gradual deregulation of diesel to boost his finances in later years.

While rationalization of tax structure via GST can improve finances it may take some time. Also, a lot more needs to be done on the expenditure side so as to curtail subsidies. However, fertilizer and food subsidies are aimed at farmers and poorer sections of the society. Hence, it would be interesting to see whether the government is ready to bite this bullet in order to meet its fiscal targets.