There was a lot of anticipation and apprehension about Budget 2017. There was enough to satisfy those anticipating, and relief for those who were apprehensive. The big push to expenditure for farmers, rural sector, affordable housing and infrastructure will give a fillip to growth and employment. Putting more money in the hands of the common man through tax rate reduction, encouraging FDI, measures for education, skilling and employment of youth are all positive measures for economic growth over the next few years. A commitment to the path of fiscal prudence has been made, although fiscal deficit was pegged higher at 3.2 per cent keeping in mind the need to increase public investments in the absence of private sector investments to ensure GDP growth. Reduction in corporate tax rate for MSMEs, measures to increase transparency by restricting cash transactions to Rs 3 lakh and change in framework of political funding are welcome. The reduction in capital gains period for real estate is a positive move. A big thrust to digital transactions is a step in the right direction. Overall, it is a positive budget with focus on the right segments, with an aim to increase tax to GDP ratio and targeted expenditure to give growth and employment a fillip.
- Shanti Ekambaram, President – Consumer Banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank