Published on 7/02/2017 9:08:28 AM | Source: IANS

Budget good if it were normal year, says former chief statistician

The Budget 2017-18 presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is a good budget had it been a normal year, but unprecedented events like demonetisation and Donald Trump's becoming the US President should have been mentioned, former Chief Statistician of India Pronab Sen said.

"It is a very good Budget, had we been in a normal year. But, we had demonetisation, Trump's victory and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) ahead. The Budget does not reflect any of these big events," Sen told BTVi in an interview on Monday.

"There is no big stimulus in the Budget. Sometimes, it is quite wise to hold off the stimulus to see how things are playing out. But there should have been a clear mention of these events, consequences and what arrows the government is keeping in its quiver," he added.

It's a Budget that "pretends" it is a normal year, Sen said and added that if the GST is rolled out on July 1, the government needed to make ample provisions. 

"The corproate sector is doing fine... Damage done is in the informal sector. We don't know the magnitude of the damage. I am looking at a growth of 6-6.5 per cent for 2016-17," he said. 

"The next year's situation is much less predictable today. I have a bad feeling that the Trump factor may retard investors' confidence in India," he added.

The Central Statistical Organisation has estimated the 2016-17 growth at 7.1 per cent, excluding the demonetisation effect. 

The Economic Survey has estimated 6.5-6.75 per cent growth in 2016-17. 

On the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy review on February 7-8, Sen said he expected a 25 basis points cut in the interest rates.