Union Budget 2017-18 | Preface
By Nand Kishore, Partner
The economic survey showcased a slowdown post demonetization, ergo, big and major announcements were expected in Budget 2017-18 to encourage industry and boost growth. However, the Hon’ble Finance Minister (FM) stuck to the populist measures by proposing to spend heavily on agriculture sector, rural sector development, MNREGA etc. This is understandable considering the forthcoming elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, which is also being seen as a litmus test for the Government’s performance so far.
Although, the industry was eagerly expecting a decisive announcement date for roll out of the much awaited Goods and Service Tax (GST), however, the FM disappointed yet again by not making any announcement in this regard.
While the Budget 2016-17 on one hand, had announced various initiatives like “ease of doing business in India”, “start-ups”, “infrastructure development” etc., Budget for 2017-18, on the other hand, did not make any significant announcements and emphasised on achieving the earlier initiatives, which is definitely a smart and sensible approach.
On the tax proposals, not many changes have been made in indirect taxes considering that GST should be introduced shortly. On the direct tax side also, no big bang announcements were made instead focus was on digitalization of economy and curbing black money.
On the fiscal side, as per the economic survey, the Government would be in a position to achieve fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent in 2016-17. Despite heavy budgetary allocation and given the backdrop of uncertain oil prices, lower exports on account of Brexit and US’s new President’s protectionist policies, the FM was confident of arresting the fiscal deficit to 3.2 per cent.
To sum up, this Budget, though contrary to expectations, appeared to be a measured step adopted by the FM to present an all-round budget reasonably satisfying the expectations of industry, farming community, the poor, the middle class etc.
We are delighted to present the salient features of the Budget 2017-18 in the form of a presentation. We hope this is helpful.