The special discussion on Union Budget, organised by ‘The Free Press Journal-Nav Shakti’ group, saw most of the speakers praising the budget. Modi Government’s first budget is heading in the right direction and it will certainly help in bringing ‘Achche Din’.
The special discussion on Union Budget was very well received from all walks of life. The event has now assumed a ‘must annual feature’ on the calendars of many of eminent personalities in the town.
Eminent speakers from various fields made the discussion holistic in nature. A gentle glance through various points during the discussion on Friday too will give a clear picture about the depth of discussion.
Chairman of Janakalyan Co-operative Bank, Chandrashekhar Vaze, initiated the discussion. He praised the budget for simplification of direct taxes. He also appreciated the proposal of setting up of real estate infrastructure trusts. “Setting up such institutions will help to take the benefits of developing economy to the common man,” he said. This decision will benefit even the small and medium scale industries, he added.
Vaze also commended union government’s efforts in doing away with many practical difficulties faced by the business community like tax deducted at source (TDS). He also enumerated various provisions in the budget that would avoid unnecessary litigation in the sphere of income tax, and said, “This is the best thing about the budget.”
Investment counselor Vinayak Kulkarni said, “By nature we Indians are wise savers but bad investors. But now, many provisions of this budget would help and protect the interests of small investors. So, small investors should make a very good use of all these provisions.” He also elaborated on the measures that can be taken, like going in for infrastructure stalks etc., by small investors so that they can extract maximum benefit out of budgetary provisions. “The budget has also opened ways for disinvestment in banking sector. This too will provide very good opportunities to the investors in coming days. There is a possibility that many more such opportunities will emerge,” Kulkarni said.
Ravikiran Paradkar, Assistant Commissioner with the Mumbai Police, provided a commoner’s perspective on the budget. He stressed on the revival of ‘Kisan Vikas Patra’ (KVP), the small savings scheme, as one of the best measures to promote the habit of saving amongst marginal investors from rural background. “Rural investors fall prey to ponzi schemes very easily. The schemes like KVP will provide them with a safe option for investment and protect them from ponzi schemes,” he said. He also praised the budget for allocations in the defense sector.
Milind Kamble, Chairman of Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DICCI), described the budget as the “best” for MSME sector and proclaimed that ‘Achche Din’ have started arriving for the sector. “India has about 36.1 million registered MSME units. Their investment in plant and machinery alone is to the tune of Rs. 840 million (which is quiet commendable) and they employ about 8 million people in the country and their gross output is of Rs. 135 billion. But, governments in the past had never put a thrust on this area which this government seems to be very keen about,” Kamble said.
He praised the budgetary provision of Rs. 10,000 crore to initiate a ‘Risk Capital Fund’ for the MSME sector. “Such funds will do away with the collateral-based lending system prevailing in the country today. It would make way for a lending system that supports innovation,” he said.
“Youngsters from the SC/ST communities own over 60 million units in the MSME sector. But, financial institutions have never seen forthcoming to lend them for their needs. With this thrust in the budget, we might now see a different scenario on this front,” he added.
Kamble also took a glance at various budgetary provisions for Backward Classes and said, “It shows that government wants to move in the direction of partnership from the era of patronage.”
He also praised the measures to ease education loan and changes in the apprenticeship law. He also said that the thrust on ‘teacher’s training’ and approach of ‘financial inclusion’, as reflected in the budget, have raised hopes about government’s actions ahead. He also said that the roadmap on fiscal deficit too is very important.
“We can see a boost in water transport due to service tax modifications. This will also boost employment in the sector and also the Indian ‘tonnage’, a measure of growth of the industry,” Kshirsagar said. “The policies, as reflected in the budget, will also help ship building and breaking industry to flourish in India. The PPP model can help ship breaking industry which is passing through a difficult stage due to global recession,” he added.
CA Arun Kelkar said, “While presenting the budget Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the people have voted for a ‘change’, but I couldn’t find the change anywhere in the budget except some minor measures. This probably has happened because the government is not very sure of direction in which they want to go.”
Chief guest Y M Deosthalee, CMD of L&T Finance Holdings, summed up the discussion in his very balanced speech. He said, “While judging the budget it should be kept in mind that it is being presented by a 45-days old government and also after two successive years where nothing substantial was done on fiscal front by a regimen of policy paralysis. “We need to give this government some time and also have a sympathetic view,” he said.
Deosthalee praised the budget for its emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, education and skills and entrepreneurship development. But he also sounded a word of caution over some issues, which he felt, need to be addressed immediately. The issues he pointed out were GST and provision regarding debt mutual fund. “Government should speed up legislation for GST,” he said, adding that devastating provision in the budget regarding debt mutual fund might adversely affect investor’s mood even in case of banks coming out with infrastructure bonds and this ultimately can put the economy in doldrums. “Government’s credibility will depend on the implementation of the budget,” he said while concluding his speech.
Prakash Kulkarni, Editor of Nav Shakti, moderated the discussion.
Bombay Stock Exchange Investment Protection Fund, Indian Oil Corporation, NKGSB Bank, Punjab & Maharashtra Co-Op Bank co-sponsored the program.
The discussion will be broadcasted over Asmita FM channel of AIR Mumbai on Thursday (July 24) at 8.15 am.