As per an interview with NDTV given by former PM Singh, this budget does not lay down a road map for future and good chance has been frittered.
“Thank you,” was Mr Jaitley’s short response to the critique.
Terming Jaitley lucky, Singh said , “Mr Jaitley is a very lucky finance minister. He has inherited an economy which is in reasonably good shape…inflation is under control, not because of anything we have done, but because the international prices of petroleum and other commodities have gone down. I had hoped that he’d use this lucky phase to give a real big boost to stabilize the economy, strengthen the macroeconomic framework…With all the nitpicking, the net tax revenues will increase by only Rs. 15,000 crores. What is 15,000 crores in a budget which runs into Rs. 15-16 lakh crores?”
The former prime minister said Mr Jaitley could have done much more for fiscal consolidation and macroeconomic stabilization. He also felt the agriculture sector has not received the attention it needed.
“Agriculture has done extremely well under the UPA but in the last one year there have been signs of stress and strain in the agriculture economy. The budget has nothing to deal with this situation. 70 per cent live in rural areas, their well-being has not received adequate attention,” Dr Singh said.
Though various funds were being established, he said, “It is one thing to pronounce intentions but another thing to convert them into a solid action programme on the ground. My worry about the budget is it has good intentions but does not have adequate roadmap to ensure that those intentions are converted to concrete tactical realities.”
As finance minister in the 1990s, Manmohan Singh was the architect of India’s economic reforms. His first term as UPA Prime Minister was also much lauded though the second term was mired by many scandals and controversies.