Union Budget 2019: Modi 2.0 may focus on rural infrastructure, health and PSUs
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present her maiden union budget on Friday, July 5. The expectations are high from the first full-time Finance Minister of India and second after Indira Gandhi. The budget will be tabled in the lower house of the parliament from 11 am onwards.
The budget will discuss the economy, tax exemptions, widening of fiscal deficit, aviation, defence, railways among many other things. But the main focus of Modi 2.0 may be on rural infrastructure, health and PSUs.
In the area of rural infrastructure, the government’s vision is of doubling farm income. The government may also talk about affordable housing and social schemes which may show tangible results. Rural electrification, housing, toilets and cooking gas, the next big promise that the budget is set to make is that of ensuring piped water to every household by 2024. The Prime Minister has also created a Jal Shakti Ministry in his new cabinet and the new budget may focus on India’s water crisis.
The Ayushman Bharat scheme is expected to get more clarity in the 2019-20 budget speech after Prime Minister launched it in 2018. This could be a big test for Nirmala Sitharaman as India lacks the type of infrastructure needed to carry out a scheme as big as this one. According to the Prime Minister, this is the largest health scheme in the world and smooth implementation of the scheme would need a large infrastructure.
We can also expect the Finance Minister to clearly spell out the divestment policies, including those of strategic public sector undertaking (PSU) divestiture and un-utilised land assets with state-owned undertakings. The Budget can also lay down a clear road map for recapitalisation of state-owned banks and also provide them with growth capital.