25 February, 2021

Union Budget 2020: Why It's Two Steps Forward, One-And-A-Half Backwards

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's fiscal arithmetic looked wobbly. She was seemingly unsure about what plagues the Indian economy

Photograph by Jitender Gupta
Union Budget 2020: Why It's Two Steps Forward, One-And-A-Half Backwards

She traversed several roads. She connected them through exits, and switch roads. But in the end, the economic highways that emerged from finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget 2020 looked like a maze. Her speech came across as a policy construction with little idea of what to do, and when. Instead, what she achieved was a mish-mash with dozens of clogged pathways full of long jams. Possibly, the expectations among the investors and citizens were too high, and the financial shackles on Sitharaman too restrictive.

The huge hopes implied that the budget decisions were perceived largely as two-steps forward, one-and-a-half backwards. The FM doled out several benefits with her right hand, but took away sizeable portions with her left. Clearly, the constraints didn’t allow the FM to go all the way. In the process, her fiscal arithmetic looked a bit wobbly, as she based the government’s optimistic revenue estimates on the successful sale of family jewels, like the state-owned LIC and other cash-rich PSUs, and that of telecom spectrum.

As Sitharaman...

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