Corporate India hails ‘people-friendly’ budgetFebruary 29th, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) Captains of corporate India welcomed the national budget for 2008-09 with open arms for the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s efforts in focussing on growth and announcing measures for agricultural development. “The Finance Minister has presented a comprehensive, balanced and growth-oriented budget and has managed to address the triple challenge of growth inclusiveness and sustainability very astutely,” said Bharti Group chief Sunil Mittal, who is also president of industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“The beneficiaries of the budget vary from farmers to industry to the average salary earner. And all this without making the budget fiscally irresponsible,” Mittal added.
Similarly, another leading Indian business chamber, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) hailed the budget as people-friendly and growth-oriented.
“One of the major problems being faced by industry today is the severe skill shortage across sectors and at all levels. In this context the finance minister’s announcement of setting up a non-profit corporation for promoting skill development with an outlay of Rs.15,000 crore (Rs.150 billion) is a fresh, new idea whose time had come,” Ficci said.
“The finance minister in this budget has kept the peak rate of customs duty on non-agricultural products unchanged. This would help Indian industry in the face of the appreciating rupee.”
Venugopal Dhoot, chairman of Videocon Group and president of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), said: “The finance minister has provided succour to small and marginal farmers who were groaning under heavy debt burden and struggling hard for survival. This is a much needed step in right direction.”
However, he also said waiving off loans cannot be considered a permanent solution and suggested creation of a mechanism to monitor various schemes announced to ensure that their deliveries reach the targeted groups.
“There seems to be nothing for ports, airports, urban housing, construction sectors etc. except for some. These are critical for the country to leapfrog into the big league in global arena. Infrastructure deficit is growing at a rapid speed and needs to be addressed on war footing,” said B. Muthuraman, managing director, Tata Steel.
“The budget could have given more focus on urbanisation by promoting measures that would lead to setting large integrated townships in the urban and semi-urban areas,” Muthuraman added.
For some of the CEOs, this was a budget that “exceeded expectations”.
“The budget 2008 has exceeded expectations in terms of rural development, education and agriculture,” averred Moon B. Shin, managing director, LG Electronics India.
“However, for a manufacturer, as we are exposed to open competition with the various Asean countries, some relief on raw materials and intermediate goods would have made our industry competitive globally,” Moon said.
“The 2008-09 budget has definitely exceeded all expectations,” said Assocham’s president-elect Sajjan Jindal.
However, according to Jindal, the budget should have sought to withdraw heavy export duties imposed on exports of mineral resources and surcharge on corporate taxes.
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