24 Feb 2016 20:07 IST

Wanted: Growth-oriented provisions on tax, farm fronts

People expect proactive measures that prove the govt is serious about development

Across the board, players in the stock market and industry expect a structured, systematic and clear-cut Budget which is pro-development and pro-growth.

On the tax front, people are looking forward to reforms in both direct and indirect taxes. The Goods and Services Tax, that has become a hot potato in recent times and is much awaited by one and all, is one of the areas the Budget is expected to throw further light on. Also, companies are widely anticipating a delayering of corporate tax to improve ease of doing business in India.

Proper implementation of the Direct Tax Code which is expected to widen the income-tax base and make I-T payment simpler, and which has been delayed for many years now, is expected to be on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s agenda. This would surely lead to an increase in the Gross Domestic Savings rate for India, which has been missing for quite some years. This could ease the pressure on achieving the targeted fiscal deficit level.

The Make in India campaign is a good initiative but needs to be taken forward with some positive reforms. Simplification of the APMC Act by giving more autonomy to the farmer and empowering him by making agricultural products more export-oriented to harness the advantage of lower prices vis-à-vis other Asian economies like Japan are some of the farm sector reforms expected from the Budget.

Banking sector also calls for urgent reforms to complement the development measures taken by the government. Riding on the wave of Jan Dhan Yojana, thrust on opening new bank accounts, particularly for people living in remote regions with hardly any access to banking, is expected to propel the economy through Financial Inclusion.

Measures for easier and faster lending to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to propel their growth and support the Start-up India Campaign are expected to be a part of the Budget. Guidelines for reduction in NPAs of banks through more stringent checks and balances on corporate lending would help improve the bleeding balance-sheets of some of the banks.

Development of infrastructure — an important part of the BJP government’s manifesto — is expected to find a prime place in the Budget. Streamlining of operations and increased thrust on development of smart cities along with augmenting this development by provision of funding for development of public transport facilities may see some light. Focus on R&D initiatives would be welcome, as also measures to alleviate concerns of the middle-class and reduce corruption by making our bureaucrats more tech-savvy. One expects that more online portals for various departments will be launched in this Budget as well.

This is the right time for the Centre to initiate measures that prove it is really serious about development

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