Budget 2019: Sensex, Nifty hold on to gains

Mumbai: As the 2019-20 Budget presented by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal overshot the fiscal deficit target for the current financial year, benchmark equity indices held on to gains today morning.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was trading 157.10 points, or 0.43 per cent, higher at 36,413.79. Similarly, the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 43.25, or 0.40 per cent, to 10,874.20.

Top gainers in the Sensex pack included Maruti, Hero MotoCorp, M&M, HUL, HCL Tech, Bajaj Finance, HDFC and L&T, rising up to 3.78 per cent. Vedanta was the biggest loser on Sensex, cracking over 18 per cent after the metals and mining giant yesterday reported a 25.54 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,574 crore for the December 2018 quarter on the back of higher expenses and drop in commodity prices.

Other losers included ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, Axis Bank, Tata Steel, Infosys and Coal India, falling up to 1.78 per cent. Sectorally, auto, realty, FMCG and pharma stocks supported the positive momentum in the market.

Meanwhile, on a net basis, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net of Rs 3,006.41 crore Thursday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net sellers to the tune of Rs 1,634.32 crore, provisional data available with BSE showed. The rupee, meanwhile, was trading 4 paise lower against US dollar to 71.12.

Goyal said the fiscal deficit for the current financial year is expected to be 3.4 per cent of GDP, and as widely expected, he announced the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi for small and marginal farmers, providing Rs 6,000 per year to be transferred directly to farmers’ bank accounts in three installments.

The finance minister said the government has been able to contain double digit inflation and has restrained the back-breaking inflation to an average 4.6 per cent.

During the previous UPA government (2009-14), inflation averaged as high as 10.1 per cent. “This was primarily because food inflation increased (during 2009-14). In contrast to that, our government broke the back-breaking inflation. We have brought down average inflation to 4.6 per cent, which is lower than the inflation during the tenure of any other government,” Goyal said.

He also said that the inflation came down to as low as 2.19 per cent in December 2018. “If we would not have controlled inflation, our families would have spent 35-40 per cent more today on basic necessities such as food, travel, consumer durable and housing,” he said.

Stating that the government had undertaken path-breaking structural reforms by introducing GST and other reforms, he said that the NDA government has been able to rein in inflation. Goyal said, India has been recognised as brightest spot in the world in last five years.