The traditional 'Bahi Khata' was replaced with a 'Made In India' tablet as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman took to the floor of the House to present the first Budget of the decade, something which she herself termed a 'Budget Like No Other'.
While taxes were left untouched, the government pressed the accelerator on capital expenditure and put the focus on revenue mobilisation through asset monetisation instead of higher taxes.
So, what does India Inc. make of the budget. CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan spoke to the captains of corporate India and one of the key architects of the budget, Sanjeev Sanyal, the Principal Economic Adviser.
On the budget, Sanyal said, "We recognised that there would be a time at which it would make sense to go out and began to expand demand and we began to do that in October to December month. We have gone for growth but we have done it with a very precise tool which is infrastructure spending. I am including here health and other social infrastructure as well."
"Basically what we are trying to do is - this is a moment where you can borrow and spend something we said in the economic survey. It is not only good from a growth and job creation perspective this is a moment where even from a fiscal consolidation perspective it makes sense to basically press the accelerator."
On infrastructure spending, Sanyal said, "We are clear that we need more financial institutions to back this infrastructure expansion. It was a feeling that it requires certain amount of specialised institutional capability which we used to have many years ago and there were reasons why we changed that but there was a lot of thought given to this and so we have gone an announced one."
Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman of Feedback Infra, said, "I have no hesitation in saying that in my view is this is one of the most thought through, practical and impactful budget that I have seen in the last two decades. I am very happy with the budget. I am particularly happy with the announcement on DFI because. It sets up any institution to provide for the bulk of capital required where there is a genuine short fall, we needed an institutional intervention that brought in a solid dose of capital to infrastructure."
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Exec Chairperson of Biocon, said, "I think it was an important allocation and I think the pandemic has actually thrown open the vulnerability of the healthcare system across the world and India has already been made aware of it and has basically stated that we would like to increase our healthcare allocating from 1 percent to 2.5 percent of GDP in the next 3-4 years so I think this is a very important step. We do need to really significantly boost our expenditure in healthcare."
"I think the big ticket item in the budget infrastructure is music to our ears because as infrastructure in India gets better and better manufacturing sector will become far more efficient and far more competitive globally. Also the manufacturing sector benefits because you can't build infrastructure without vehicles, and equipment and things like that sorts," said Baba Kalyani, Chairman & MD of Bharat Forge.
For entire discussion, watch the video.