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Budget To Put More Money In Aam Aadmi’s Pockets: Sunil Duggal, CEO, Dabur India

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The Union Budget 2014-15 was going to be a tough balancing act for Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley, given the precarious state that the Economy was in. And he has managed it well. With a plethora of announcements, be it in the form of further opening up FDI, promoting investments in Infrastructure and Health Care or proposals for poverty alleviation and rural development, the Finance Minister has taken positive steps that would not just boost overall confidence, but also go a long way in generating employment.

His focus has been on empowering the Middle Class and particularly the emerging Middle Class, besides taking care of their health. The hike in Income-tax exemption limit and the Investment limit under Section 80C would provide much needed relief to the salary earners who are reeling under the impact of high inflation as it would surely put more money and more savings in the hands of the common man and fuel consumerism.

It is also heartening to see that the new government is finally moving ahead with the introduction of the long-pending Goods & Services Tax (GST). GST — which aims to replace a series of existing taxes such as excise duty, service tax and value added tax — will go a long way in streamlining tax administration and result in higher tax collection for center and states. The government has announced its commitment towards introducing GST. According to independent estimates, it will provide a stimulus to the economy and could push economic growth up to 2 percent.

The government has reduced Excise Duty on machinery used in the manufacture of fruit juices and on packaging machinery from 10 percent to 6 percent. This is a positive step.

I also welcome Mr. Jaitley’s renewed focus on improving urban infrastructure, which has been languishing. Providing good infrastructure in urban areas including public transport, solid waste disposal, sewerage treatment and drinking water were mentioned as thrust areas for the new government.