New Delhi, February 1st, 2018: Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley has placed a huge emphasis on agriculture and rural India, allocating bulk of resources to tinterior landscape, while helping the middle class salaried employees along with relief to senior citizens, measures which would boost consumer demand and help revive economic growth, said ASSOCHAM president, Mr Sandeep Jajodia.
 
“The budget is on expected lines and provides support to sections of the society, where it was needed the most. The FM and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi know how to put the money where the mouth is. The agri and rural landscape were in some kind of distress and provision of over Rs 14.34 lakh crore to be spent on rural infrastructure should also add to the employment generation especially in the farm sector,” said Mr Jajodia. “This money would come from non-budgetary sources.”
 
“Relief to the salaried employees by way of Rs 40,000 per annum would leave more disposable income in the hands of the middle class and boost consumer demand,” added the ASSOCHAM president.
 
He also said what stands out is the reform in the agriculture marketing. “The launch of 585 e-mandis and linking them with 22,000 APMC mandis, without applying restrictive clause would help farmers as also those companies engaged in agri –processing, FMCG including organized big retail chains. One of the major problems associated with the Minimum Support Price (MSP) was its implementation. Now, the Finance Minister has committed that the NITI Aayog would coordinate with the state governments to ensure that the farmers get price of their produce which is one and half times of the cost. 
 
“Initiatives like Operation Green to stabilize prices of highly political and consumer sensitive onion and potato would help ease the retail inflation and would help the RBI in keeping interest rates on lower side,” further said Mr Jajodia.
 
The ASSOCHAM chief added that pick up in rural demand resulting from easing of distress, would help India Inc as well.
 
He also said that while the Finance Minister has marginally exceeded fiscal deficit targets, but if expenditure involves a quality spending, the outcome would only help economic growth. “But we have to ensure that these milestones are honoured.”  As for the Long Term Capital Gains, the ASSOCHAM expected that market would take it in its stride.
 
Mr Jajodia also complimented the Finance Minister for putting a lot of emphasis and budget allocations on healthcare, especially in the rural sector. The Universal Health Coverage is key to realizing the demographic dividend.  
 
As for the business reforms, the announcement of allowing fixed employment contract to all the sectors would help the industry in hiring. The ASSOCHAM also lauded the budget for reducing corporate tax for companies which have a turnover upto Rs 250 crore. This would help revive the business sentiment among the MSMEs. The chamber said adding the initiatives on startups and Make in India are also noteworthy.
 
Overall, the last full budget of the NDA Govt is directed at the Bharat and that would help the rest of the society as well.     

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