As Nirmala Sitharaman gears up to present her maiden budget, three choices stare at her — she can either improve upon the reforms initiated by her predecessor Arun Jaitley, or play safe by opting for a business-as-usual strategy, or blaze her own signature trail by bringing in radical changes.
The first term of Modi government was a mixed bag for India Inc. First, both small and big businesses were jolted by demonetisation and then they were forced to scramble to keep up with the ever-changing Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Amidst all this, Jaitley's budgets brought in a host of big-ticket reforms for businesses, amongst which the much-needed tax relief to micro, small and medium enterprises deserves a special mention.
For big businesses though, Jaitley left a lot to be desired in terms of reducing corporate tax.
2014-15: Jaitley era begins
In his first budget, Jaitley made a case for increasing the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in insurance and defence manufacturing from 26% to 49%.
He proposed that the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) would provide the platform for FDI routing without any hassles.