Triple-T Dose: Transformative, Targeted and Timely
All the right buttons have been pressed and gears shifted to driving the nation to a digital future
It was an ‘historic Budget’ not only for the reasons specified by the finance minister, but also for the transformative leadership displayed by this government in sustaining the momentum of reforms. Transformative leadership is about driving sustainable change and the government has identified digital, the rural economy, financial inclusion, opportunities for the youth, and ease of doing business.
It is now working systematically to bring about the transformation. There was also a clear attempt to make the economy more transparent and, thereby, more efficient and dynamic.
Driving the nation to a digital future continues to be a priority for GoI, which will help bring the informal economy into the formal framework. Use of digital platforms will increase with new programmes announced, including two schemes to promote the new payments app Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM), a merchant version of the Aadhaar-enabled payment system, and duty-free imports allowed of point-of-sale and other digital authentication equipment.
Data mining and the use of analytics on bank deposits collected following the demonetisation exercise are yielding the government good insights to increase the number of tax assesses and expand the tax base. It will bring about tax administration reform to enforce greater compliance as well as drive e-assessments.
To drive job creation and capitalise on our demography, Arun Jaitley made much-needed interventions: deploying online platforms for learning like the Swayam platform with 350 online courses, investing in new education infrastructure like setting up a national testing agency, building 100 international skill centres in 600 districts where job aspirants can learn languages, and a new skill acquisition for livelihood programme.
As old and new economy firms continue to invest and grow their operations, India’s youth with find many opportunities to gain new skills and thereafter job opportunities.
No country can adopt a digital economy without buildingqualityinfrastructure.ThisBudgetadoptedaunified approachtotheissuebymergingtherailwaybudgetwith it. This will allow for greater synergy in infrastructurebuildingandinterconnectivityandhaveacatalyticeffect in attracting private investment. Higher allocations for passengersafetyalsoshowsacommitmentforbetterservicedelivery.
Almost doubling the rural road network with 133 km of newroadsbuilteverydayislaudable.Asareplansto provide high-speed broadband fibre connectivity to 1,50,000 gram panchayats and one crore houses for the homeless. Giving affordable housing infrastructure status will help sustain development in this sector.
The most important factor is that multiple, synergistic initiatives are all being driven simultaneously. In other words, as we go along this path to the future, the dots will all get connected. For example, the impact of Swachh Bharat goes well beyond basic hygiene. It will make a significant change to the health profile of the country, aid tourism and boost self-esteem of Indians.
Atthemacrolevel,theBudgetdeliversonitspromisesof fiscal prudence with numbers trending in the right direction, while intensifying public investment programmes simultaneously. Attempts to improve consumption growthbyincreasingexpenditureintheruralareas,lower taxationratesattheentrylevelaswellasforsmallcompanieswillhelppushGDPgrowthhigher.AstheFMsaid,this Budgetwillhelptransform,energiseandcleanIndia.
Focus on digital will help bring the informal economy into the formal economic framework