Guwahati, Monday, February 29, 2016
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Union Budget today amid growth worries

 NEW DELHI, Feb 28 - Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is set to present India’s general budget for the next fiscal on Monday amid worries over the country’s stagnating growth rate, government finances and direction of reforms.

Will his proposals ease the fiscal burden of average citizens, notably individual tax payers, as also of the corporate sector is the question that comes to the forefront. In this regard, as also what extent Jaitley can go to in meeting the aspirations of the stakeholders, the Economic Survey that was tabled on Friday has already suggested recalibration of expectations.

At the same time, how many of the recommendations made by the Survey – from rationalisation of distorting subsidies to bringing more people into the tax net – will the Finance Minister pursue is what is also being closely watched.

If the stock markets are an indicator of the overall prevailing sentiments in the economy, the successive declines in key indices to their yearly lows and the volatility in trading don’t portend well.

Noting the challenge posed by a global slowdown, the Economic Survey 2015-16 tabled in Parliament by Jaitley on Friday lowered the economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.6 per cent – from the previously projected 8.1-8.5 per cent range – mainly because of lower agricultural output due to deficit rainfall.

“The coming year is expected to be a challenging one from the fiscal point of view because of challenges posed by a lower-than-projected nominal GDP growth,” said the Survey.

“The chances of India’s growth rate in 2016-17 increasing significantly beyond 2015-16 levels are not very high, due to likelihood of persistence of global slowdown,” it said.

“The implementation of the Pay Commission recommendations and the ‘One Rank One Pay’ scheme will put additional burden on expenditure,” it added. Moody’s Investors Service said earlier this month that the country’s fiscal position will remain weaker than other emerging economies in the near term even if fiscal consolidation continued on course. – IANS

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