10 Iconic Budgets That Made a Difference

1947: The first budget
FM: RK Shanmukham Chetty

Independent India’s first budget presented in November 1947 focused on agriculture, not surprising because the farm sector accounted for nearly 70% of the economy.

1950: Grow more food
FM: CD Deshmukh

This budget proposed a “Grow More Food Plan” with focus on creating irrigation infrastructure, making India’s agriculture less dependent in monsoon rains, and raising farm output.

1969: Bank Nationalization
FM: Morarji Desai

The government nationalized 14 banks in 1969, helping India Raise the savings and investment rate jump from 13% in the late 1960s to 23% in the late 1970s.

1971: Garibi Hatao
FM: Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi guided Congress to a landslide victory in 1971 on the back of a popular slogan “Garibi Hatao”.In the budget speech for 1971, Gandhi said that “weaker sections are the greatest source of economic strength. Special “anti- poverty”programs were introduced with discretionary government transfers to the poor

budget1986: Reform by stealth 
FM: VP Singh
This Budget saw first stirrings of liberalization, but without fanfare giving currency to the phrase “reform by stealth”. The multi-point excise duties converted into a modified value-added (MODVAT) tax significantly reducing the taxation of inputs
 1991: Opening Up
FM: Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh’s July 24, 1991 budget threw open India’s heavily regulated economy, dismantled the “License Raj” and heralding a spirit of free entrepreneurship. In a way, the 1991 budget can be credited with the creation of the “great Indian middle class” by unleashing the free spirit of entrepreneurship. Singh quoted Victor Hugo and compared India with an idea whose time has come.
1997: Dream Budget
FM: P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram’s 1997 Budget was hailed as the “dream” budget. He brought down peak income tax rate to 30% that was almost unthinkable those days.It has remained the peak rate ever since underlining the theoretical “Laffer curve” principle that a wider base and lower rates yields higher revenues. He introduced the Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme (VDIS), a onetime amnesty scheme aimed at harnessing ‘black money’ for productive purposes.

2005: Welfare Economics
FM: P Chidambaram

The Budget announced the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Launched a new “Bharat Nirman” Programme, promising to give a “new deal” to rural India. Value Added Tax (VAT) introduced across the country termed as one of the biggest tax reforms initiatives in independent India.

2008: Debt deal
FM: P Chidambaram

Finance Minister P Chidambaram raised the income tax exemption limit by Rs.40000 to Rs 1.5 lakh per annum, announced Rs 60,000Crore farm loan waiver and relief scheme, a move credited with helping the congress to return to power in 2009.

2012: Retrograde Retrospective
FM: Pranab Mukherjee

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced a controversial policy to impose a “retrospective tax,” which fuelled fears of an uneasy business environment for foreign entities.

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