Free Press Journal

Budget strong, reflects new government’s philosophy: Naina Lal Kidwai


New Delhi: Naina Lal Kidwai, Country Head of HSBC India, on Thursday described the budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as ‘balanced’ and ‘strong’, and said that it reflects the philosophy of the new government.

“I believe it is a very balanced budget, a strong budget, as it reflects the philosophy of the new government,” said Kidwai.

“What we have is a budget which is touching many areas. There is a lot of focus on rationalizing and simplifying. In fact many requests of the FICCI have been taken on board, particularly to do with Tax Dispute Resolution,” she added.

She pointed that there is 4 lakh crore that is locked in tax litigations, and added that if this can be freed, then it can come back into the budget.

“He has taken the challenge to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4.1 percent. But the direction forward is very positive to bring it down to 3.6 percent,” she said.

Meanwhile, Subhrakant Panda, managing director of IMFA, said, “It is very encouraging to see Finance Minister talk about reviving the manufacturing and the infrastructure sector.”

He hoped that the steps listed in the Budget bring about a revival of the manufacturing sector as it is needed for job creation.

“The lowering of the limit for investment allowance is good as it will spur activity and hopefully this can translate into something bigger,” he added.

Anil Chaudhry, Country President and Managing Director, Schneider Electric India, said: “Smart city lies at the heart of the Union Budget of the new government.  The allocations and the measures announced now gives shape to the Mr Narendra Modi’s initial idea of 100 smart cities.”

The government has made an allocation of Rs 7060 crore – an enabling factor that will boost the planning and development of the smart cities. And to compliment it, the government has incisively identified seven corridors. Overall, these are very promising preamble to the realization of the smart city concept. It now needs to be seen how the details are worked out by the Government.

He further said that the budget has adequately focused on energy, in sync with the new government’s vision, and announced various measures that will benefit in ensuring sustained growth for the sectors. The reeling power sector will find some respite, if the measures announced in the budget are implemented properly.

“There are measures accounted to strengthen the entire power value chain. From Rs 100 crore allocation for super critical ultra modern thermal power to the rationalization of coal linkages will facilitate the struggling power producers and put the stranded power plants on a rebound course. The Government’s promise to resolve the existing deadlocks in coal sector and provide fuel to all projects coming up before March 2015 will be a massive thrust to get the flailing sector on course to meet the Government’s 12th Plan target of 88,000 MW,” he said.

Chaudhry said the budget has adequately focused on the solar energy sector. Rs 500 crore allocation for ultra-modern solar power projects will give the deserving boost to solar companies to increase generation capacity, which is currently a mere one per cent of India’s total energy production.

“Rs. 100 crore for the development of 1 MW solar parks on the banks of canals and Rs 400 crore for setting up solar power driven pump sets are some unique measures introduced that will further drive utilization of solar energy and reduce our dependency on conventional energy resources. Implementation of the Green energy Corridor Project will be a great move to integrate channels for evacuation of solar power – a formidable challenge for generating companies at the moment.  The removal of customs and excise duties on solar equipment on the other hand will incentivize indigenous companies to increase domestic manufacturing and reduce reliance on import. These are most welcoming moves,” he added.

Trade facilitation through single window custom clearance

New Delhi: In a move to fast-track the process of getting customs clearance and to facilitate trade, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today proposed to implement an Indian Customs Single Window Project.

“Under this, importers and exporters would lodge their clearance documents at a single point only. Required permissions, if any, from other regulatory agencies would be obtained online without the trader having to approach these agencies,” Jaitley said while presenting the Union Budget for 2014-15 (Apr-Mar).

“This would reduce interface with governmental agencies, dwell time and the cost of doing business,” he added.

The minister also said that measures are being initiated to extend the existing 24×7 customs clearance facilities to 13 more airports for all export goods and to 14 more sea ports for certain import and export goods.

Faster clearance of import and export cargo reduces transaction costs and improves business competitiveness, he said.

This assumes significance as a government task force had pegged transaction costs at 7-10% of the export value and experts say that trade facilitation measures can bring down the costs by about 2%.

The government in the Budget has also sought states’ participation in export promotion by providing good infrastructure and full facilitation. For this, it plans to set up an Export promotion Mission to bring all stakeholders under one umbrella.