There should be clarity on the expenditure commitment of the government, former Revenue Secretary to the Government of India, M.R. Shivaraman has said.
He was addressing a pre-budget discussion on ‘What India Inc is looking forward from the Budget’ organised by the South India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) in association with The Federal on Thursday (January 30) in Chennai.
Experts from across sectors like realty, manufacturing, and taxation concurred on the fact that it would be a ‘do or die budget.’
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Shivaraman termed fiscal deficit a ‘ghost’ created by economists. He said, “We need clarity on the expenditure commitment of the government. Moreover, we shouldn’t be bringing about so many changes within the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which, in the last two-and-a-half years, has seen about 37 meetings and a spate of adjustments in the rates. They should also bring about political transformation when the economy is on an upswing.”
Sunil Singhania of Abakkus Asset Manager LLP and Karthik Jeyaraman, Carlyle Global Partners, London, discussed long-term capital gains (LTCG). Singhania said only one per cent of assessees gained from LTCG. Singhania said, “It would also be interesting to see the government discuss strategic disinvestment, especially in the backdrop of the move to sell 100 per cent stake in Air India.”
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On an optimistic note, M. Murali, chairman and managing director, Shriram Properties, said while there was a lot of a talk on a slump in the realty sector, affordable and mid-market segments were doing well. He said, “The lull is only in the luxury segment. In fact, we have seen a surge in the demand for co-working spaces and senior citizen homes.”
Murali said the realty sector had the potential to kick-start the economy. “It can give a boost to the manufacturing sector and push up employment with the demand for more man hours and manpower. On the other hand, it is also important to create a good perspective on those doing business,” he said.
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In developed countries, those generating jobs got incentives with lower rates for power. But India made its manufacturers pay more for the same, rued K. Srinivasan, former MD, Carborundum Universal Ltd. (Manufacturing). He said, “Other factors that matter are well-thought-out rules and regulations, which are clearly spelt out, and the ease and cost of doing business.”
The discussion was moderated by Aarthi Krishnan, editorial consultant, The Hindu BusinessLine, who also tried to unravel the reasons for the economic downturn.