The Union Budget 2019-20 presented Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is an all-inclusive one. This has covered almost all aspects of the economy and aims to reach US$ 5 trillion in the next few years from US$ 2.7 trillion at present.
The vision includes building both physical and social infrastructure, digitization of every sector of the economy, pollution-free India, Make in India with special emphasis on MSMEs, start-ups, defence; water management and clean rivers, developing the blue economy, space programmes, self-sufficiency and export of food items.
The Budget has many positives. In the case of aviation sector, the Budget focuses on aircraft financing and leasing, encouragement for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of aircrafts, FDI in aviation sector and disinvestment of Air India.
One Nation One Grid is another excellent idea where power can be supplied from one place to another.
Housing Sector has been going through bad times. It is pertinent to note that the Government has encouraged this sector by providing additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.50 lakhs on interest paid on loans borrowed for purchase of house up to Rs 45 lakh.
To address climate change, the Government has provided incentives to electric vehicles in the form of lowering GST to 5% from 12%, providing a deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest payment on loans to purchase electric vehicles. These will encourage use of environment-friendly vehicles.
In continuation with merger of the Public Sector Banks, the Government now wants to further strengthen the public sector banks by capitalizing them to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore. This will improve credit.
The proposal for PPP to build Railway Infrastructure, strategic disinvestment of select CPSEs, and encouragement to digital payments are also welcome moves.
We are really happy that the retail traders and shop keepers with an annual turnover of less than Rs 1.50 crore will be eligible for pension.
As President of FKCCI, I am pleased to note that the Finance Minister has taken note of some of our requests related to MSMEs. The issue of rate of interest for credit to MSMEs has been addressed to some extent by the 2% subvention scheme.
On the flip side, the hike in Excise Duty and Petrol and Diesel by Re 1 is likely to adversely affect Trade and Industry and the common man as production cost will increase.
Though the Budget has taken measures to encourage startups, the Angel Tax has not been abolished.
On the whole, the Budget gives most sectors reason for cheer.
–The writer is President, FKCCI...