Budget 2019 is dedicated to the common man: Thomas John Muthoot, MD, Muthoot Pappachan Group

 Thomas John Muthoot“We are so glad for the common man of our country”, Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman and Managing Director, Muthoot Pappachan Group.

Overall, even after substantially upping the allocation in various sectors, including Defence, North-East, Ayushman Bharat and MNREGA; also allocation for new mega schemes like Kisan Samman Nidhi and Shram Yogi Mandhan, fiscal deficit being contained at 3.4 percent is noteworthy.

From the perspective of Muthoot Pappachan Group, with its core and dominant business in wide spectrum of retail financial products and solutions focussed on the people at the lower ends of the socio-economic pyramid, through its array of NBFCs, there are indeed some explicit take-aways from the Budget 2019.

Kisan Samman Nidhi, the direct transfer plan for all farmers owning upto 2 hectares of land potentially reaches out to – given the average size of a family as 4, if not more – to about 48 crore people. That’s a whopping 40 percent people in India. Though the amount is small, at about 5 percent of per capita income and implementation is key, it could work meaningfully as a minimum guaranteed social security cover.

The identification of the workers in the unorganised sector, which is 85-90 percent of the workforce overall, is indeed really insightful and is like unearthing a hidden gem. It’s a simple scheme with a decent Rs 3,000 per month mega pension scheme for nearly 40 crore workers in the unorganised, who have almost zilch retiral or financial security cover. This Shram Yogi Mandhan or Mega Pension scheme is indeed a real and substantial step in Financial Inclusion.

Another thoughtful and strategic move is the real attempt to boost ‘Make in India’. Commendably with focus at the grassroots, keeping the local and rural economy as the top priority.  Expanding rural industrialisation using modern digital technologies to generate massive employment will not only increase consumption power of the people but will provide massive thrust to local manufacturing and local economy, thereby, creating a holistic economy moving towards more equitable distribution of wealth.

With the rising cost of living and yet, commendable level of aspirations for a better tomorrow amongst gritty people in India, at the bottom ends of the pyramid, Government’s recognition that the personal IT exemption limit of Rs 2.5 Lacs is meaningless and so, enhancing the same to Rs 5 Lacs with a slew of others measures in the same space, is indeed another insightful and thoughtful announcement.

Enhanced budget allocations for MNREGA, Defence Expenditure and major thrust on small to massive Infrastructural activities from rural roads to highways to Sagar Mala could have substantial positive impact on employment and monies reaching to people.

It does seem to be truly a budget for the bottom ends of the socio-economic pyramid and we at Muthoot Pappachan Group are indeed so glad for the quintessential common man of our country.

(Views expressed in this article are personal opinion of Thomas John Muthoot, Chairman and Managing Director, Muthoot Pappachan Group.)

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