India Inc., NRIs react to Pranab’s budget

February 28th, 2011 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee Mumbai, Feb 28 (IANS) Top industrialists, businessmen and NRIs Monday reacted to the federal budget presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Here are some of the comments: * Y.C. Deveshwar, chairman, ITC Ltd:

“The finance minister has done a brilliant job of balancing the challenges confronting the economy and the opportunities that can ignite faster growth and progress of the country.

“He has sought to consolidate the fiscal deficit through growth stimulated by moderation in taxes thereby encouraging savings and investment. The measures proposed in the budget to expand the tax base would also provide a more robust source of future revenue accretion and competitiveness of the Indian economy.

“Besides, a strong impetus is given to inclusive growth by significantly investing in the long term drivers of the economy such as education, skill development, infrastructure and development of the rural economy.

* Ram Buxani, NRI Industrialist, head of ITL:

“There is no excitement for anyone in the budget and the budget presented by the seasoned finance minister is nothing less than politically motivated document.” said Buxani.

“However, for the NRIs, it is a happy news that nothing specific relating to Direct Tax Code which created a scare that NRIs staying more than two months in the country may attract assessment of world income, was mentioned.”

* Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO, ICICI Bank:

“The budget recognizes the long term growth drivers for the economy and seeks to strengthen them further. Measures in this regard include continued focus on education and skill building to realise our demographic dividend and increased infrastructure investments through measures such as increasing the FII investment limit in corporate bonds, lowering of withholding tax for infrastructure debt funds, mechanisms to strengthen PPP and addressing environment related issues.

“The budget seeks to build on our growth drivers through infrastructure and social sector development, address challenges of food inflation and of fiscal management and to promote inclusive growth.”

* Hari Shankar Singhania, president, J.K. Organisation:

“The finance minister must be complimented for a balanced budget with thrust on sustaining the growth momentum, retaining the fiscal stimulus, yet continuing with fiscal consolidation.

* Abin Kumar Das, executive director, Hinduja Group:

“The budget is pragmatic given the present political and economic realities. It balances the demands of India’s growth agenda with the need of keeping fiscal and budgetary deficits within control.”

“Opening of mutual funds to foreign investors will stimulate stable capital inflows into the economy while the strong support for the education and rural sectors will strengthen our economic foundation.”

* H.M. Nerurkar, managing director, TATA Steel:

“The budget is balanced, non-disruptive and continues with the policies of the government since it came to power keeping the focus on growth and inclusiveness.”

“The government continues its endeavour to maintain robust economic growth and steady fiscal consolidation by focusing on economic inclusion, liberalizing FDI policy, boosting investment in infrastructure, agriculture and the social sector and simplification of procedures.”

“The target GDP growth rate of 9 percent and commitment to bring down fiscal deficit to 4.6 percent of GDP next year and 3.5 percent of GDP by 2014 are statements that hold a lot of promise.

“I believe that there was an opportunity to develop Mumbai as an international financial centre in view of the decline of traditional financial centres in the West and elsewhere, but the measures expected to be announced in this regard fall short of what could have been done to capitalize on this opportunity.”

* Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director, Hiranandani Group:

“A balanced budget, attempting to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4.6 percent of GDP, there is also a huge emphasis on agriculture sector and development of collateral infrastructure like warehousing and cold storage, besides importance to infrastructure including metro train in Mumbai; FM (finance minister) has allocated Rs.40,000 crore for infrastructure bonds including Rs.5,000 crore for Hudco.

“However, the introduction of MAT for SEZ appear to be derogatory step, contrary to commitment made to investors for SEZ. Today more than Rs.10,000 crore FDI and other funds have invested in SEZs, on the basis of earlier commitment of he government that it was be not taxed. It would be in fitness of thing of FM not to tax SEZ where investments have already been made.”

* Srikrishna, CEO, Birla Edutech:

“There are several encouraging aspects for the education sector, and the overall increase of allocation of funds in education by 24 percent is truly commendable.

“There is a special emphasis on areas such as Skill Development and the National Knowledge Network that is critical for India to be a global leader in the 21st Century.”

* N. Venkat, CEO & MD, Birla Wellness:

“We expected the budget to promote health & wellness sector by reducing service tax on all fitness & spa services. We also wanted ayurvedic treatments need to be included in medical insurance claim. However, there is no major impetus for health sector nor there were any additional provision encouraging health service & medicines.”

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