The Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the
Prime MinisterShri Bibek Debroy has welcomed the announcements made in the
Union Budget 2018-19 and its focus on agriculture, rural economy, and
healthcare and employment generation, says a release.
EAC-PM Bibek Debroy emphasised that the Government is
committed to following the path of significant structural reforms and the
Budget 2018-19 is a step in that direction. The Budget focused on the
structural issues of the Indian economy especially the agriculture sector and
rural economy instead of following economic populism.
The Union Budget has focused extensively on social
sector and rural economy. It has emphasized upon the need to give a boost to
overall growth by giving impetus to the rural, agriculture sector, health and
education. The Government has allocated the sum of Rs. 1.38 lakh crore towards
Health, Education and Social Protection. The Chairman, EAC-PM is of the view
that the growth needs to be inclusive and the Budget is an important milestone
in that direction. He lauded the proposal of launching of the National Health
Protection Scheme which is intended to cover 10 crore households with an
insurance cover of Rs.5 lakh per family. Further, the proposed scheme is a
milestone step towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage.
According to advance estimates released by the
Government, the GDP growth at constant prices for the financial year 2018-19is
estimated to grow at 7.2–7.5 percent. The average GDP growth for the first
three years of the government was at 7.5 percent. The Indian economy has become
the seventh largest economy in the world and will soon become the fifth
largest. The government remains committed to following the gradual fiscal
consolidation glide path, however, has revised the Fiscal Deficit target for
the year 2018-19 to 3.3 percent of GDP and has kept the Fiscal Deficit for the
year 2017-18 at 3.5 percent of GDP. The Chairman, EAC to PM feels that the
revision of Fiscal Deficit will not be affecting India’s macroeconomic
stability and revising it was a necessity for the government because the
Implementation of GST has resulted in tax collection for 11 months only.
Moreover, there is a shortfall in the non-tax revenue due to lower accrual from
spectrum auction. He is also of the view that at the time when the growth rate
is suffering due to private sector unwillingness to invest, it had become a
necessity for the government to start the investment cycle through public
investment. The government investment in key productive sectors like
infrastructure, health and education will crowd in private investment in the
years to come.
The government had also met its disinvestment target
for the year 2017-18 and expects to collect Rs. 72,500 crore. For the year
2018-19, it has set the disinvestment target at Rs. 80,000 crore. Further, it
accepted the recommendations of the N K Singh Committee on Fiscal Discipline to
reduce Debt-to-GDP Ratio. The above measures will help the government to
maintain macroeconomic stability.