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BW Businessworld

Promises To Keep

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First came Make in India, launched with much fanfare on 25 September. A week later, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was unveiled. This past week, on 26 and 27 February, the Railway Budget and the Economic Survey were presented before Parliament. What’s striking is the continuity of vision in all of them. This vision finds its denouement, as it were, in Budget 2015. No big bang announcements, no tamasha. Almost every proposal either feeds or ties into Make In India, Digital India or Swachh Bharat in some way. Rooted in pragmatism, it was as if the FM had only one aim: take India to a whole new orbit of growth.

While proposals such as the phased reduction in corporate tax over four years to 25 per cent, setting up a MUDRA bank (with an initial corpus of Rs 20,000 crore and a credit guarantee corpus of Rs 3,000 crore) to fund small businesses and deferment of GAAR can be seen as pro-business, the exemption extended to donations made to the Swachh Bharat Kosh and Clean Ganga Fund are clearly pro-environment. Having accepted the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendation to devolve more funds to states, the FM had less fiscal wiggle room, but he did not play Scrooge with the social sector. NREGA gets as much as Rs 34,699 crore, with the promise of Rs 5,000 crore more if there’s tax buoyancy. So, Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas was no empty slogan!

That said, the Budget is by no means an easy document to decipher. Long after the TV channels have moved on to juicier stories and the newspapers have taken a break from their feverish excitement of the day, the fine print remains an enigma. To help decode it for you, BW | Businessworld has assembled an impressive array of economists, CEOs and analysts. They tackle the Budget’s pros and cons sector-wise and head on. They tell you about hopes belied and missed opportunities. And about proposals that will impact many generations to come. It’s a large package but it has something for everyone. Start reading from page 38. There is also a quick guide to help individual taxpayers on page 122.

We have taken pains to bring you as many shades of opinion as was possible given our time constraints. Please do share feedback on whether this issue was helpful and how we can do better.
Happy reading!
(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 23-03-2015)