My expectation is more from Budget speech than the budget per se. Those are:
a. Come out of denial mode on the situation of the economy and transparently explain to common citizens like us if anything has really gone wrong in economy intheeyes of the government and if they admit so then explain what are those factors that caused the slump and where did our policies , measures go wrong or fell short. Why has this stagflation come in , why has growth slowed , why has unemployment increased , why has consumption and private expenditure decreased , why has private investment slumped – what are the answers to those immense number of why going across the minds of all people. Let there be a verytransparent, open explanation of the macro situation as of now as against our expectations which were there while last budget happened and the identification of the causes which might have caused the variation of actual from estimates.
b. What should follow then is the outlining of policy changes,reforms, measures that Government should take to address those causes which stymied the growth in 19-20. What would prevent recurrence of that in 20-21 – even if we don’t expect a turnaround in short term we need to know what alternate steps are being taken to arrest that rather than wishing the malaise away and thinking market will automatically correct the financial parameters andnothing needs to be done. Please note this budget has a different significance as many of the parameters have gone back to the numbers which we had 30 years back , and therefore against such backdrop an usual budget speech proclaiming future investment numbers as we usually hear in all Budgets will possibly not be a very welcome one.
c. Then one can move into the usual bunch of financial stimulus packages for sectors and schemes that Government usually does in every budget but without addressing the points above if they again move into the usual budget speech, I think trust of people on Budget process and speech which is certainly declining and looked at with some cynicism, can’t be restored.
d. Lastly I will have an interest in what Govt does in a completely apolitical way for the States which have different ruling parties than in centre. Number of such states have increased since last budget and therefore this point comes up – to have an egalitarian growth all around the country, they will certainly have to focus on each and every state and create packages suited to their strengths and weaknesses , needed for a sustainable growth in those states and therefore in India. Will be interested to hear that and in particular for my own state Bengal.
– Ambarish Dasgupta