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Yashwant Sinha's budget announcements helped spur investments in housing and infrastructure (Photo: Hindustan Times)
Yashwant Sinha's budget announcements helped spur investments in housing and infrastructure (Photo: Hindustan Times)

1998-99: Yashwant Sinha Budget

Mint picks 10 Budgets which stand out for one or the other of these reasons

Historically budgets fall in two buckets. Those that are situational—dominated by an unravelling challenge and hence largely reactionary—and the few out-of-the-box essays seeking to reset the economic agenda. Mint picks 10 budgets which stand out for one or the other of these reasons.

Finance minister Yashwant Sinha presented the budget of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee govt at a time when India faced sanctions in response to the Pokhran nuclear tests. Sinha’s budget announcements helped spur investments in housing and infrastructure.

■ The housing sector got big relief, including full deduction of profits from taxable income for the first 5 years, besides a 30% deduction for the next five years for approved projects.

■ The budget offered tax concessions for infra projects. It extended the tax holiday given to industrial undertakings in backward states and districts, and offered tax holiday for oil refining.

■ The budget raised the excise duty exemption limit from 30 lakh to 50 lakh for small-scale industries, which accounted for 40% of India’s manufacturing sector.

■ Sinha raised the planned allocation of the agriculture ministry by 58%, raised the share capital of Nabard and announced credit cards for farmers to buy farming implements.

■ Clearance for high-value foreign investment proposals within 90 days. The FM also announced the intent to cut govt stake in state-run firms to 26% in cases without strategic considerations.

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