This budget has an increment of Rs.11000cr over the previous outlay. But the direction has changed more to the health and education sectors. The effect of these interventions will be experienced more in future than immediate present.
In so far as Agriculture is concerned the farmers get some announcements and hopefully, appropriate rules will be made to ensure that the farmers get 1.5 times the cost price for their produce. So far they have not been able to get the dividend out of the MSP. E-Nam spread though welcome has not so far stabilised in delivering the intended benefits to the farmers.
A non-budget allocation of Rs.11lakh crores to farm credit is again a please all announcement. If NITi Aayog comes up with a modicum of lending to the tenant farmers with the owners' interests duly protected, things may change in the short term credit. Any short term credit not matched with the term lending or investment credit for farm sector as has happened so far, would end up in only irresponsible target chase.
Agriculture should have been provided a separate budget because of the low growth experienced (just around 2.1%) and the already admitted climate change risks in the Economic Survey 2018.
In so far as MSMEs are concerned, emphasis on the food processing, leather and apparels would provide great fillip. National Bamboo Mission would provide the bamboo based artisans and small enterprises in rural areas and tribal areas a great opportunity for developing branding and move to export zone.
MSEs' major problem is availability of land for setting up the enterprise as the land prices everywhere are just soaring to unbearable heights. If he had announced tax exemption for five years for infrastructure and land cost in Rural Industrial Parks - either private or state - it would have been of great help.
In the name of MSME sector, the corporate tax exemption threshold rise to Rs.250 crores would help the medium enterprises and mid-corporates that constitute less than 2% of the total number of MSMEs. This is more an apology of support to the sector.
Mudra Loans target increase by 3lakhs should have been more specific to manufacturing MSEs. So far less than 3% of the total loans have been given to manufacturing.
SHG credit allocation of Rs.75000 cr - a non-budget allocation would be rebalancing the gender portfolio of banks in the MSME sector.
As a senior citizen I am happy that my medical bill is better met now than before. The FM deserves thanks for this concern.