The government’s budget day report card had a big F stamped on the disinvestment line on Tuesday by business consultant Sunil Alagh, usually a supporter of the BJP-led government’s policies on NDTV.
“Last year’s target in disinvestment was Rs 1.75 lakh crore. What have they done? 8 per cent. Anyone in the private sector would have been sacked for that. No question in my mind,” he said, reviewing the process that included last week’s Air India handover to the Tata Group.
Mr Alagh said he liked some parts of the budget but was unimpressed by others.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s a terrific plan. They’ve laid out a vision. They have given a five-year plan… but a budget for me is 25 per cent vision and 75 per cent of what they are going to do in the next nine months,” he said on NDTV’s post-budget show.
“Where it’s done a tremendous job of increasing capex, whatever money they had whether it’s defence, whether it’s agriculture… Where does it go wrong? it hasn’t said anything on inflation,” Mr Alagh said.
“It’s taken oil prices at 70-75 dollars when it’s today at 90 dollars, already. So, when they increase oil prices, everything else will go. They have not touched on inflation at all,” the former managing director and chief executive officer of Britannia Industries said.
“I was looking forward to the lower-income, middle-income group getting some tax relief. Not the upper end,” he added.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her fourth budget on Tuesday with a 30 per cent tax on profits from virtual currencies and assets like NFTs, the rollouts of a state-backed “digital rupee” and 5G telecom services, and a big push for spending on infrastructure.
The budget did not announce any changes to the income tax brackets and has been criticised by the opposition for skimping on measures that would help the middle class hurting from the pandemic and rising prices.