REUTERS - Finance Minister P. Chidambaram presented the interim budget for the fiscal year 2014/15 to cover expenditure until a new government is formed after elections due by May.
RADHIKA RAO, ECONOMIST, DBS, SINGAPORE
"Three positives out of the just concluded speech - the fiscal target in FY13/14 has not only been met but undershot, excise duty rates were cut for a handful of the troubled sectors and (he) assured that fiscal rationalisation will remain on track into 14/15. But, under the hood concerns - primarily on how these deficit targets were met/will be met next year -- remain largely unanswered. The cut in the excise duties will also have a bearing on the indirect tax takeaways, putting revenue targets at risk.
"Clarity on the continuity of few of the tax surcharges levied last year is also awaited, with the quality of fiscal consolidation still in question. Nonetheless, while the rating agencies will sift through the details, they are unlikely to act as yet. Their focus has shifted to the post-election growth and reform agenda."
ANEESH SRIVASTAVA, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, IDBI FEDERAL LIFE INSURANCE, MUMBAI
"Some tinkering on excise is positive for auto companies. More importantly clarity on fiscal deficit and government's borrowing program is a greater positive.
"Now we have a roadmap on government borrowing, we were earlier thinking it to be about 6.30 lakh crore (6.3 trillion rupees), and what has come is much better than expectations.
"This is positive for equities. Elections are next to watch. We should now see if markets rally from here on Modi optimism. Any substantial decline would be a buying opportunity."
(Reporting by India markets and treasury teams)