Most of the experts expected the Union Budget of 2018/19 to be the people's budget given that this was the final budget before the next year's Lok Sabha Elections. However, within a few minutes of the session, it was quite clear that the budget would be more pragmatic than populist. The focus was clearly on the promising rural economy of the country and bringing it up to the next level, be it in terms of connectivity, providing health care or homes. The salaried individual who expected some relief in income tax rates or slabs returned disappointed too. There was good news for companies where Corporate income tax rate has been cut to 25% for those with a turnover of up to Rs 250 crore.
For the Solar industries, there was a no-show as the FM barely bought it up. There was no clarity offered on topics like Anti-Dumping and customs duty on solar cells and modules. However, the government reiterated its plans for smart cities and utilization of solar there. The Government has also directed the state to purchase surplus power produced by farmers using solar-powered pumps. Overall, the budget will be looked upon as another year of missed opportunity to build momentum going into 2019, with just 3 years left to achieve 80 GW of the 100 GW National Solar Mission. Overall, the budget has a very 2017/18 feel to it, where not a lot was put on the table for solar industry in specific.
MYSUN's Take on the Budget
So eventually the 'election year' has taken the shine away from the 'Sun'. It is disappointing to see that the solar energy sector has been ignored in this year's budget. It was much awaited that the Finance Minister would clear the government's view on customs duty on solar cells and modules, but that has not materialized. Overall, with its overriding focus on farmers, the budget is expected to give a boost to rural consumption which in turn will help India achieve its much higher GDP forecasts for the next year.