Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has charted a new chapter in the Indian economy with presenting first full-year Budget of the Modi government. With the recent announcement of Finance Commission’s recommendation of 10 percent increase in the grant allocation to states, people felt that the government would roll out a new beginning in the economy. Thereafter, the economic survey, a day before Budget, flashed out the government plans vividly. The Union Budget has come up as if it is an extended form of economic survey. The Finance Minister has tried to fix the basic problems of economy. As the Budget underlined health, education, social security, employment, boosting agriculture sector as well as bid for checking the misuse of subsidy, it has become all clear that the Modi government wants to bring in diametric change in the Indian economy in next five years. The Finance Minister has called spade a spade that the government is committed to curb black money menace and those who indulge in fly-by-night operation will be dealt with stern action. This apart, the Finance Minister also indicated quick move for economic reform, which was needed. The Modi government also wooed large middle class of the country. There is no change in IT slab though, tax relief on medical and education expenses has given much comfort to the middle class. The ruling dispensation at the Centre has tried to give a sort of political message to the Congress by enhancing the allocations to the MGNREGA. This is indeed a very important as the Prime Minister took potshots at the Congress during his reply to Motion of thanks on the President’s speech on Budget.
With the announcement of special financial assistance to West Bengal and Bihar, the Modi government has driven home message that politically ideological difference cannot be a hurdle for the development. Both these states would be getting supports on the pattern of Telangana. The Modi government has no qualm in taking bold steps for improving financial situation as it has scrapped low-yield instrument of wealth tax. It seems more logical that the government has replaced wealth tax with surcharge of 2 percent on super rich having annual taxable income of over Rs 1 crore. In a bonanza for farmers, the government has announced to jack up agriculture credit target from Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 8.5 lakh crore. This apart, the government has also announced to give big financial support for enhancing the quality of irrigation and soil health. Both water and soil are deemed to be major factors for achieving higher agriculture productivity. Earlier there has been lackadaisical attitude towards these areas, but the Modi government has taken up a big responsibility for improving them through ‘Krishi Vikas Yojana' and 'Pradhan Mantri Gram Sichai Yojana’. In a bid to enhance agriculture productivity, the government has also proposed to make cold storage, warehouse and roads that could lead to the market. The Union budget unequivocally states that the government is all committed to curb black money menace.    
It is not surprising that Opposition outrightly rejected the Budget, but it is nothing more than propaganda that Modi government is anti-poor and pro rich. Opposition leaders have forgotten that poverty elimination will create employment. New opportunities for employment can only be created by establishing new industries. For that creation of proper environment for investment and development of infrastructure is necessary. The Finance Minister has also highlighted the fact that in last one decade the infrastructure sector has witnessed maximum degradation. There is a need to increase government expenditure and private participation in this sector.
The inclusion of infrastructure in five major economic challenges as well as the announcement of creation of 'National Investment and Infrastructure Fund' to meet these challenges is a step in the right direction. In a bid to improve the current status of basic infrastructure, the government has decided to increase the investment by Rs 70,000 crore in this sector. The participation of government and private companies or the PPP model for the development of infrastructure related project is a good idea but for various reasons it couldn’t move forward properly. There is a need to start from scratch. The Finance Minister has expressed his intention in the Budget, but work on it should start immediately.
Undoubtedly, Jaitley has presented a Budget on expected lines in which emphasis was laid on each and every detail to achieve far reaching goals. This is totally different from the traditional approach of the Budget. Generally, Budget is assumed as a platform for populist announcements. Attempts are made to please each and every one through the Budget resulting in no significant change in economic conditions. This is a good thing that the Finance Minister has tried to draw a new line. He had connected the 'Clean India Campaign' with the health of masses. One of the major decisions of this Budget is deducting the Corporate Tax from the existing level of 30 per cent to 25 per cent. Now it will be equal to the other Asian countries which will ultimately improve the investment scenario of the country. It is a welcome step that GST will be implemented by next Financial Year. The whole economy will be benefitted from this step. The announcement of making a new law to improve business environment in the country has highlighted the fact that the government is serious on its flagship programme 'Make in India'. This law will also help in getting rid of 'Red Tapism'.
With the stress on devolution of divisible funds to states, the Centre is left with fewer funds however the Finance Minister has laid out a comprehensive outline of economic growth. Notably, the Modi government is expecting from the states that they fulfill their own responsibilities for the development and welfare of the people. Prime Minister himself was the Chief Minister of Gujarat for the substantial period of time and therfore he is well aware of the fact that central assistance is one of the most vital thing for the development of the states. Perhaps that's why he has increased the allocation of funds for the states after the recomendation of the Finance Commission. Now it is up to the states to live up to the expectations. States have to spend judicioulsy on social programmes avoiding any populasim. Centre has done its work and now it is the responsibility of the states to implement all the social schemes for the welfare of the masses. This is necessary because most of the states do not observe the essential vigilance required in financial matters. Now states are going to recieve enough money and it is essential for them to spend those money responsibily for the  implementation of welfare schemes.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on March 1, 2015 translated by the English editorial. The author is the Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)