NEW DELHI: Given the limited fiscal constraint, Nirmala Sitharaman was not expected to take any radical policy decisions. Being fair, her maiden budget speech managed to announce several reforms, while staying in her fiscal comfort zone. But with otherwise impressive budget speech, dotted with many “feel-good” announcements, the Finance Minister chose to remain silent over some uncomfortable questions.
While the vision of five trillion economy is positive, there are already signs of economic slowdown, auto sales, fast moving consumer goods are going down and India Inc, economists and even department of economic affairs have expressed concern over it. The budget was uncomfortably silent over the cyclical slowdown and how the government is planning to boost consumption and slowing manufacturing growth.
Industry was also disappointed with the fact as the budget speech did not addressed low corporate investment from the private sector and what measures it is going to increase private sector participation in the economy. With no major hike in government expenditure, it is private investment, which is expected to bridge the gap in infrastructure.
While there was mention of skill development scheme, her budget speech had no mention on unemployment rate which stood at 45 years high, leaving India Inc wondering about what the government is doing about creating meaningful jobs for the growing young population.
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“Just because we have not put in separate heading does not mean we have not addressed it. We have taken several initiative which will lead to it,” Nirmala Sitharaman said after responding to the budget.
If this budget was future economic roadmap for the next 10 years for the government as per their own admission, India Inc was expecting some vision of how the government is going to fix these challenges, which will be major impediment on the government’s vision to make India $5 trillion economy.
Budget also expunged some flagship schemes like Smart Cities Mission, Healthcare scheme, Aayushman Bharat and among others. Also Budget had no mention of exports sector.