Perhaps the biggest plus of this budget is that it brought no negative shocks. And no bad ideas like farm loan waivers.
Hence the massive relief rally on Dalal Street. And the economists are relieved that foolish ideas have been given the go-by.
Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget for fiscal 2017-18, his fourth, is notable precisely for its lack of fireworks. Given the context of demonetisation and the need to stimulate growth, the budget did not propose major concession to too many sectors, barring real estate. In fact, Jaitley passed up the opportunity provided by DeMo and a forthcoming shift to a goods and services tax (GST) regime to break out of the fiscal deficit straitjacket. He accepted the 3 per cent target for 2017-18 as one he will try to achieve while giving himself leeway up to 3.2 per cent, which is lower than 2016-17’s target of 3.5 per cent. The direction of fiscal consolidation is consistent and prudent.