India gets its first budget under the new Narendra Modi government.
Indian Finance minister Arun Jaitley unveiled the country’s first budget under the new government. The budget speech was read out at the Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday July 10, 2014.
Here are 5 points that stood out during the budgetary speech –
1. Focus on growth – The budget aims to for a sustained growth of 7-8 percent within the next five years. The finance minister also said that policies which are likely to propel growth will be the government’s top priority.
2. Tax – The budget promises to maintain a conducive tax environment. Moves like the extension of the 10-year tax holiday for companies into power generation have been welcomed.
3. Agricultural changes – Agriculture which is one of the major pillars of the Indian economy, has been promised a long term rural credit fund with an initial corpus of Rs. 50 billion. The budget also aims for an agricultural growth rate of 4 percent per year. The farm credit target has been set at Rs. 8 trillion for 2014/15.
4. FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) – The cap on FDI in the defense sector has been raised from 26 percent to 49 percent. The insurance sector has also seen a raise in cap from 26 percent to 49 percent.
5. Excise duty – The budget has announced an additional levy of 5% excise tax on aerated drinks (cold drinks). Tobacco products have also been slapped with a major hike of 72%. However, certain food package industries will witness a cut in excise duty from 10% to 6%.
The ceremonious budgetary speech had a marked difference in tone form the earlier government’s speeches, as the Minister refrained from any poetic insertions into the speech. The speech was to the point and focussed, without any unnecessary interventions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was indicted into the parliament in May 2014 after a sweeping win at the 2014 Indian general elections.
Photo Credits: Indian Express