India Today - - UPFRONT -

With un­em­ploy­ment loom­ing large and the econ­omy list­ing a bit pre­car­i­ously, the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment’s pre-elec­tion bud­get was al­ways likely to be pop­ulist. The BJP is sud­denly fight­ing for po­lit­i­cal salience, and the Congress with its com­pet­i­tive car­rot-dan­gling—in the shape of farm loan waivers and a Min­i­mum In­come Guar­an­tee in states it has re­cently won—has stolen a march on the saf­fron party. At the time of go­ing to press, it looked like the BJP’s counter-of­fer would be a cock­tail of di­rect ben­e­fit trans­fer to landed farm­ers and min­i­mum in­come guar­an­tees to the land­less poor. Maybe ze­roin­t­er­est loans for farm­ers and some con­ces­sions to the salaried through tweaks in in­come tax slabs. SMEs could be in for some tax con­ces­sions and pos­si­bly in­ter­est sub­ven­tion. The gov­ern­ment will also hope that it will pay to please.

P: Pro­vi­sional

*BE: Bud­get es­ti­mates

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