Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday presented in the Lok Sabha an Aam Aadmi budget which is pro-poor and pro-rural. For the benefit of the middle class, the personal income tax exemption has been raised by Rs 10,000 to Rs 1,60,000 and abolished IT surcharge and Fringe Benefit Tax. The budget focused on creartion of job opportunities, cheap food for poor and loans for farmers.
The budget fulfills a number of the poll promises made by Congress party and kept in view the pressures of global slowdown. The budget relies on infrastructure development and agriculture sector to achieve 9% economic growth.
The industry welcomed the budget, saying it is a job well done given the trying circumstances, but had reservations on the hike in Minimum Alternate Tax and absence of details on disinvestment programme.
The stock markets reacted strongly and tanked about 900 points on the issue of 6.8 per cent fiscal deficit, the highest in 18 years, and lack of sops for areas like housing, steel and infrastructure.
The budget, provided for an expenditure of Rs 10,20,000 crores and the corporate tax, customs, excise and service tax rates unchanged. However, changes in specific duties will make gold, silver and textile products costly, while LCD TV and branded jewelry will become cheaper.