Apart from the fact that both Chidambaram and Arun Jaitley are prominent lawyers and have been so for many years, I know for sure from sources that they might be on opposite sides in political debates but they have a sneaking admiration for each other.
BUDGET 2014 has nothing new to offer.
There have been two explanations for this approach by our tired and over-worked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had to take a break between his budget speech after which he had to sit down to outline the roadmap for fiscal consolidation. Today, he said, the government will retain the fiscal deficit target for 2014-15 at 4.1% of GDP and reduce it further to 3% by 2016-17.
On the practical side, what must have weighed heavily on the Jaitley’s mind was that, the NDA was in the minority in the Rajya Sabha and parties including TMC, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party were only waiting to get back at PM Narendra Modi. Getting controversial proposals cleared by the Rajya Sabha would be a daunting task in the current scenario.
Jaitley will continue that policy in spades: his dividend expectations are of total Rs 90,229 crore against Chidambaram’s estimate of Rs 77,229 crore. This is partly because of higher RBI dividends. Jaitley should have projected far greater receipts from disinvestment than Chidambaram did in his interim budget, given the sharp rise in stocks since February. But he has budgeted for an increase of under Rs 7,000 crore. This is a rare cushion against negative developments.
– Amey Khedekar
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