There have been mixed reactions to the just presented Union Budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. While some hail it, others say that there was nothing much in it. R Vaidyanathan, a professor of Finance at Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore and an expert on financial matters tells OneIndia that overall this is a neutral budget.
"It is not a budget that has taken risks. I personally feel that it is a budget that has been constrained by the directive of the Election Commission in view of the ongoing poll process in the five states, he says.
"There are certain announcements that appear to be related to the upcoming elections. For instance, the allocation made for MNREGA and the increase in funds for Scheduled Castes are indications that these are related to the upcoming polls. The changes in the tax rate too are marginal in nature. It may at best benefit senior citizens," he says.
When asked if people would have expected more since it is the first budget since demonetisation, Vaidyanathan said that the amount of money deposited into the banks is not clear as yet. "The Reserve Bank of India has not yet released the numbers yet. The economic survey has not focussed on demonetisation. I feel that the finance ministry and its organs want to play demonetisation down," he says.
"I feel that the numbers must be released failing which it could lead to rumour-mongering. We are an open society and such things must be made public soon," he adds.
He says that many will be disappointed that the finance minister was completely silent on housing loans. "Many were expecting an announcement to this effect and they must be disappointed. Hence, in my view this is a budget which is neutral and one which did not take any risks," he concludes.