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Straight from the Specialists

Budget 2013: A run-of-the-mill affair

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

After the sustained hype of a game changer budget, Budget 2013 was a totally run-of-the-mill affair with no announcements of any kind of deregulatory or growth propelling initiatives.

True enough, some of the more promising measures taken in the last 12 months were not related to budgetary statements. Not surprisingly, the Sensex greeted Budget 2013 by falling.

Going forward, what may sustain the equity market is further improvement in inflation which may allow the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut rates again.

Rather than recount the usual mix of tax rises (surcharge on high incomes) and minutiae such as  removing excise duties on handmade carpets but adding an extra 3 percent excise on SUVs because “they occupy more parking space”, here are some points of more macro substance:

Budget 2013: Reduce fiscal deficit, make poor richer

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

A lot of expectations are riding on this year’s budget. And it’s not difficult to see why.

The last 18 months or so have been poor for the Indian economy with decelerating growth and a relatively weak currency reflecting the widening current account deficit. The persistence of inflation had kept the RBI on hold and this did not help the stock market. Financial scandals and seeming political indecision as far as deregulating the economy, at least till recently, were not conducive to confidence.

Budget 2012: Politics is the art of the possible

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The stream of criticism directed at the 2012-13 budget misses the point that this is the best the coalition government could offer under the circumstances.

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