In his path-finding proposals, the finance minister has taken care that the budget contains seeds of growth, which will endure over time. The landmark budget, lays emphasis on agriculture, infrastructure, employment and exports. These were the weak points in the current economic situation. At the same time the budget reflects values & aspirations of people and therefore becomes a blueprint for the future.
The core of the budget is agricultural sector and infrastructure that will also generate productive employment. The finance minister has given utmost attention to problems of farmers and provided for measures like cluster models, organic agriculture, which would improve value addition in agriculture and for pricing of products through new institutional system like gramin markets, agro processing and mega food parks as also maintaining MSP at 1.5 times the market rate.
The additional investment in rail and roads, R&D, education and healthcare was critical and will create jobs, ease business and reduce cost of delivery. Development of smart cities will bring in modernisation in living. It will also create demand for industry and enhance growth of manufacturing, which is in recovery mode.
The economy has recovered from the temporary effects of demonetisation and improper implementation of GST. Industrial growth has picked up and was the fastest in the last five years.
The growth of formal sector, which accounts for about 34 per cent of non-agricultural work force, was vital to divert to divert unemployed labour to quality jobs in small and large industries. The finance minister has therefore given special consideration to MSMEs, which are important employment generators by extending the coverage to companies with turnover of Rs 250 crore and supplementing EPF with 12 per cent contribution.
It has been the experience of every developing economy that growth has to be supported by exports. The budget has addressed to this need and facilitated exports particularly in labour-intensive industries like textiles, processed foods and leather in which we have advantage. This is extremely important.
The benefits to senior citizens reflect the finance minister’s human touch. He has also initiated the world’s largest healthcare programme covering 10 crore families, which will benefit approximately 50 crore men and women.