Guest Column: Budget 2015 – the safe debate: A Budget with no WOW, but hopes are alive

It's a pragmatic Budget but many of the actions outlined need to be closely watched as they will be interdependent. It should streamline progressive growth and bring in opportunities for risk-taking Indians, observes DDB Mudra Group’s Mandeep Malhotra

e4m by Mandeep Malhotra
Updated: Mar 2, 2015 8:18 AM
Guest Column: Budget 2015 – the safe debate: A Budget with no WOW, but hopes are alive

Much is being spoken about the Union Budget already. It’s a Budget where it is very difficult to take a stance, good or bad. It sure brings in small joys but holds back the big smiles and grins. The attempt to support corporates is fairly visible. At a macro level, the Budget has kept “the hope alive” of the nation being steered into the right direction. This government’s first attempt needs to be applauded.

The GDP expected growth is very welcome. Infrastructure growth will generate employment, therefore a new business opportunity would be education for skilled labour. What I like about it is that it is going to be great for entrepreneurial start-ups. Do I dare say the employees of large holding group companies will have a tough job to hold their people back? If starting an agency becomes simpler, it encourages the people with ideas. It will improve the ease of doing business.

Introduction of GST will impact all. The ability to give it a framework is indeed very encouraging.

State transfers of 62% will bring the decision-making quicker and measurable without the central bureaucracy will be looked up to. Rural India should see more investments brought in. I really liked Rs 20, 000 crore for Mudra Finance (pun intended).  Tax-free bonds for infrastructure growth will bring a lot of mental peace for a long term staying government.

An effort to clean the cash transactions and incentive makes a lot of sense. Though Rs 1 lakh is a small amount and very difficult for implementation in a country largely run on cash for daily needs. The big black money still stays out of bounds.

I would like to know more on the Nirbhaya Fund’s deployment plan.  Hope it doesn’t stay a socialist government’s tickmark.

My favourite investments are AIIMS/ IIM/ IIT and research institutes in the country. If we have to see a better brighter country, we need to improve infrastructure for Generation Next. It hopefully will reduce the stress on the cut-off lists of 95%-plus for education. Indian youth will have more opportunities to excel in a very competitive market. An emblem on gold coin and yoga are great toppings for the emotional Indian.

Service tax will impact cash flows for advertising agencies. Implication on urban Indian using services gets impacted which is a dampener.  Eating out for us foodie Punjabis will get expensive. Sigh…

Medical and senior citizen provisional health jump is a great initiative though not proportionate to the costs of best in class medical services prevailing in the country.

Retirement benefits have been a desire of tax-paying Indian for a while, some respite but no such great efforts as a measure of principle. Relaxation of savings for retirement is a good relief though I would have loved it if the government built a fund towards a national common cause. We will have to start taking those steps some day. The Generation Next wants to live for the day, it thinks for future but spends for today. No motivation for them in this Budget.

The fuel hike coinciding with the Budget day hasn’t gone down with the common man who is still just around the impact line.

Net-net it’s a pragmatic Budget, many of the actions outlined need to be closely watched, as they will be interdependent.  It should streamline progressive growth and bring in opportunities for risk-taking Indians.

The author is Executive Director, DDB Mudra Group & President, DDB Mudra Max.

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