Union Budget 2018: Difficult balance
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley will present the last full budget of the current government today. It’s going to be a tough balancing act amid calls for supporting growth, addressing the issue of farm distress, which can have political consequences in an election year, and the need for maintaining fiscal discipline.
Most analysts expect the government to breach the fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the current year. However, they would keenly watch how the government intends to manage its finances in the next financial year. The budget will also be expected to clear the air regarding the actual revenue position after the implementation of the goods and services tax, as there is still a fair bit of confusion in the marketplace.
In terms of overall fiscal management, the government has done well so far in its tenure and is expected to not lose sight of the importance of continued fiscal discipline. It will be a big achievement for the Narendra Modi government if it is able to attain the medium-term target of restricting the fiscal deficit to 3% of GDP in the next financial year.