The 2016 Union Budget seems to have a clear focus on revival of the rural economy and the farm sector, which is reeling from the effects of a back to back drought. There also appears to be a significant emphasis on job creation, skill development, increase investments and recapitalization of public sector banks.
On the tax front, many have been disappointed with no significant reliefs to the individual tax-payers and no significant reduction in the Corporate tax rates. Also, no concrete steps have been announced towards implementation of GST, which still remains a matter of speculation. Introduction of a new cess on taxable services is slightly surprising, since it was widely speculated that onset of GST would lead to consolidation of Indirect tax levies.
To sum up, this is a pro-poor budget, which shuns populism while tries to balance the key priorities of investment, growth and jobs, with one eye on the upcoming State elections. How far the Finance Minister succeeds in balancing these priorities would be known in the coming few months.
Click to download the significant highlights of the budget.