It is for the first time in probably the last 30 years that the Union Budget has taken care of almost all the sectors in such a detailed manner. Right from agriculture, infrastructure, education to even minor sectors like fisheries and bamboo cultivation, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden speech has ensured that every sector is adequately taken care of. For the first time any government has made an effort to provide adequate drinking water to every citizen of the country. Under the Jal Ministry, they are talking about taking piped water to every citizen of the country. This had always been a matter of concern for every government.
On incentives offered to the real estate sector, there is a need to promote rental housing and housing for all by the year 2022. The government's idea to provide affordable housing will be a possibility and is highly successful in almost all the cities except Mumbai where there is a paucity of land.
I believe that the additional incentive of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest on loans borrowed under the affordable housing would give a boost to the real estate sector further. The government's move to provide Rs 1 lakh to promote women's entrepreneurship is also a welcome step.
Liquidity has been a major concern for the industry, which the government has tried to address to a certain extent in this Budget. Public sector banks are now proposed to be further provided Rs 17,000 crore of capital to boost credit. Also the economy was devoid of any institution capable of providing long term credit, so the government has tried to address that issue as well.
The government has taken steps to ensure that the bulk of the push would come from it without having to wait for the private sector to play its role. Though the surcharge on people earning a higher income is on the negative side, it would be needed to fund some of the government schemes.
(The writer is National President, Naredco and Senior VP, Assocham. The views expressed are personal)
By Niranjan Hiranandani