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Letters to the editor: Bang for buck

While the Opposition’s critical reaction was expected, the media, economic experts and industry have largely welcomed the budget.

March 2, 2015 12:26:29 am

The NDA government’s first full budget didn’t announced any big bang economic reforms. Instead, the government committed to taking a plethora of small, bold steps. These are likely to boost the economy and GDP growth in years to come (‘Public spending to safety net: The right noises without the big bang’, IE, March 1). The finance minister has belied the allegation that the NDA government is pro-corporate, anti-farmer, anti-poor and anti-aam aadmi by announcing a number of measures for the agriculture sector as well as a universal social security scheme. Contrary to apprehensions, the MGNREGA has been awarded the  highest ever budgetary allocation. But its two biggest drawbacks — corruption in implementation and the lack of creation of durable, productive assets — still need to be plugged. While the Opposition’s critical reaction was expected, the media, economic experts and industry have largely welcomed the budget. However, the bulk of the taxpayers — the salaried middle class — is genuinely aggrieved that no hike in the exemption limit was announced.
— M.C. Joshi

Trickle out effect

The first full general budget of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government gave us many reasons to be happy. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was able to effectively steer India towards a more progressive and sensible tax policy. Also, the establishment of the Pradhan Mantri Bima Yojana, a low-cost universal insurance programme, is a welcome step. But certain aspects of the budget are problematic, especially for the middle class. The government was ill advised to have increased the service tax rate to 14 per cent. This move will result in a constant drain of money out of middle class pockets. The government would do well to rethink the hike.
— Abinash D. Choudhury

Right, left, wrong

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As expected, the comrades have criticised the finance bill, 2015-16, for being pro-rich. In this context, I would like to ask them a simple question: During their uninterrupted 34-year rule in Writer’s Building, how many pro-poor budgets presented by Left Front governments succeeded in alleviating the sufferings of below-the-poverty-line families in West Bengal?
— Arun Malankar

Hope in the Valley

It is quite heartening that the BJP and the PDP, which are ideologically opposed to each other, have finally come together to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. Defying threats from militants and separatists, the people of Jammu and Kashmir came out to exercise their franchise in large numbers. This was hailed as a sign of their faith in Indian democracy. I hope the new coalition government doesn’t let them down.
— M. Jeyaram

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