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What could the Modi government’s fourth budget be all about?

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1 will present the BJP government’s fourth Union Budget in the current term. Though Modi's demonetisation move has hurt economic growth in the nine months of FY17, the treasury has seen a strong collection of direct and indirect taxes, translating into 12% and 25% yoy growth, respectively. According to brokerage reports, indirect taxes have seen a strong growth mainly owing to the introduction of Krishi Kalyan Cess and periodical revision of retail petroleum product prices, while the disclosure scheme under I-T Act has also boosted government coffers. But in an election year across major states, the government is likely to announce increased rural and agriculture outlay, given the possible gains of ₹1lakh crore by taxing the black money deposits. Though there is unlikely to be a huge spurt in the subsidy bill, the need to stimulate demand in a weak economic environment and sticking to the path of fiscal consolidation will be tough challenge for the government though.

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