Budget 2019-20 has made a clean break from the past by focusing on the big picture and setting out a clear direction for the Modi 2.0 government, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said.
Describing the Budget proposals unveiled by India’s first full-time woman finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman as “unconventional”, Kumar said it has covered a very wide canvas in a bid to lay down the roadmap for the next 10 years.
On opposition parties’ criticism that not enough has been done for the middle class in this year’s Budget, Kumar said income tax rebate was provided six months ago in the interim Budget and such concessions cannot be repeated all the time due to fiscal constraints.
“On the middle class thing, I am not sure whether every Budget should have something for the middle class…you know six months ago, your (middle class) exemption levels were raised to Rs 5 lakhs, but then why would you want them to be done again now,” he added.
He said there have been very strong efforts in this year’s Budget to attract private investments and to create a feeling of assurance within the investor community.
On increase in customs duty on gold to 12.5 per cent from 10 per cent, he said it is not a bad idea and there is also a necessity for the government to raise resources. He also said this year’s Budget is understated in terms of its revenue projections as well as growth projections.