India Inc. wasn’t expecting much from interim budget (Roundup)

February 16th, 2009 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) The following are the reactions from some prominent industrialists and economists to the interim budget presented by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee here Monday:

Nandan Nilekani, co-chairman, Infosys: (It was) more of a report card on the government in the last five years than any specific new proposal. Anything which has a new dimension will probably come in only after the new government comes in.

Deepak Parekh, chairman, HDFC Bank: Not a disappointment, I did not expect anything in the interim budget. It was never meant to be a giveaway. Interim budget is only an exercise of stating accounts.

Chanda Kochhar, joint managing director and next CEO of ICICI Bank: What is important is to propel consumption, mainly through cuts in interest rates. Somehow it does not seem to be happening.

R.C. Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki: The government has given very clear direction. It wants to create jobs, it wants investment in rural sectors, which would create demand for cars, two-wheelers and commercial vehicles as well. A risk has to be taken and as inflation is coming down, a fiscal deficit to that level is justifiable also.

Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman, Bharti Enterprises: It (budget) was on expected lines. We will have to wait for the new government and the final budget. It was supposed to be an interim budget, so it has turned out to be an interim budget. Some steps can be taken outside the budget also.

Venu Srinivasan, chairman and managing director, TVS Motor: It is not a budget. It is only a vote on account. I did not expect any major policy announcement or tax concessions. The government has given the tax concessions in two stimulus packages.

Harsh Pati Singhania, president of the Federation of Indian chamber of commerce and industry (FICCI): The government has allocated Rs.30,100 crore (Rs.301 billion) for the rural employment generation scheme and this is a positive move in line with its stated commitment to the development of rural economy.

Uday Kotak, managing director, Kotak Mahindra Bank: Acting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has stuck to what is good convention.

Sajjan Jindal, vice-chairman and managing director of JSW Steel: I was not expecting much from this. For the next two-three months, we are going to have a policy freeze but monetary policies will address some factors like interest rates.

Rohtas Goel, chairman and managing director, Omaxe Ltd: The budget was completely lacklustre. While one can understand that this was an interim budget, given the adverse business sentiments, government could have taken exception and announced some sops for reviving the market. Benefits for housing would have created a ripple effect in the market and helped in giving a positive push to the economy.

Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director, CB Richard Ellis, South Asia: “Although the expectations from the vote on account was limited as elections are due soon, the real estate industry was still hoping to get some stimulus, and none were announced.

Pradeep Jain, chairman of Parasvnath Developers: It’s a non-event for the corporate world. The interim budget is merely a populist budget.

Dalip Kumar, manager (projects) at National Council for Applied Economic Research: How are they going to maintain the economic growth… these are political statements.

D.K. Joshi, principal economist, credit rating agency Crisil: There is a significant fiscal slippage and it is worrying that it is expected to be high despite lower subsidies, which is because of higher spending in infrastructure and the social sector. It looks like there is no scope for fiscal correction.

Amit Burman, vice-chairman, Dabur India Ltd: The interim budget is on expected lines as no big-bang policy decisions were expected. But the UPA government has clearly announced its intent to shield the Indian economy from the global crisis, which is a welcome sign.

Tushar Poddar, chief economist, Goldman Sachs: The minister’s speech was more a statement of achievements in the past five years, and merely extended spending and revenue plans for fiscal 2010.

Chender Baljee, chairman and managing director, Royal Orchid Hotels: We are extremely disappointed with the interim budget. We were hoping for some bailout or assistance from the government. Even basic assistance in the form of inclusion into the infrastructure sector did not come through.

Prabal Banerjee, chief financial officer, Hinduja Group: The government did not have much of a choice. They did what they could best do. Anything, which is new, will come only when a new government comes. This is more like what I had expected.

–Indo-Asia News Service

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