Both the Sensex and Nifty have drifted downwards, at the Budget announced by Finance Minister Chidambaram, which allocates increased expenditure by 19 percent to 2014, with a good measure for defense spending as well as additional provisions for Food Secuirty as well as additional provisions for Mid day meals.
It is a Budget that has at least averted the sovereign debt downgrade, although such a downgrade would have been questionable in view of the fact that the debt to GDP is a golden 5.3 percent, making India worthy of a Golden AAA rating, in my view.
The good news for the middle class is that for first time buyers, there is a tax rebate of upto 1 lakh on house purchases upto 25 lakhs. This will put more people on the ladder to house ownership, and provided the economy remains robust, should give a boost to the housing sector. Demand for housing is of course at a high. In this regard, a favourable proposal to create a Women's Bank is an Indian first, which will empower women entrepreneurs, and will certainly be the segment to invest in, as women's prudence, thrift and enterprise is a legend. So, well done to the authorities for creating this dedicated segment for women's empowerment.
Cigerettes, liquor, imported cars, bikes and mobile (cell) phones above 2,000 Rupees are going to incur additional taxation, and those who eat in the more UMC air-conditioned restaurants are also likely to pay additional taxes. There will be a surchage of 10 percent on incomes over 1 Crore, and those lucky people will have to fork that out for only one year. Imported cars will become kudos, attracting additional taxation, but those who can afford will not be put off from purchasing such luxuries.
It seems a good sensible Budget, although the opposition have called it dull, boring and unimaginative. Indeed the Chief Minister of Uttrakhand says it is a budget that is anti-poor. and makes no or scant provision for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It is apparent that the government will have to focus on this segment, and ensure that in a spirit of equality and inclusion, some extraordinary provisions are to be made for these segments, to propel improvements for all, starting from the lowest upwards.
A nineteen percent increase in expenditure over the next year leading to the 2014 election will ensure a renewed growth, and if fairly implemented, this Budget will definitely lift the doom and gloom that has so far weighed on the Indian markets. This is a great positive Budget for growth, and the Finance Minister deserves congratulations.