India’s 2019-20 budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is growth-oriented with a focus on development of infrastructure and a clear roadmap for rural and urban growth, businessmen and tax experts said at a forum in Dubai.ADVERTISING
“It is a growth-oriented budget as the government is spending more on productive areas. The key is to provide people with jobs to spur economic growth,” said Dr. Azad Moopen, chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare.
He stressed that the government should also now focus on providing quality education and healthcare to the masses.
“If people don’t have good healthcare, we are not going to reach anywhere. Allocation for healthcare is less than two per cent of GDP while most of the BRIC countries spend 7-8 per cent and the US spends 16 per cent. We have to fill this gap in education and healthcare sectors which are two big building blocks,” Moopen said at a panel discussion hosted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Dubai chapter on the Indian budget.
Paras Shahdadpuri, chairman of Nikai Group; Amit Sachdev, executive director and chief executive officer of Mayur Batra; Mahmood Bangara, chairman of ICAI Dubai chapter; and Arun Leslie John, chief market analyst at Century Financial, were part of the panel discussion which was moderated by Vicky Kapur, executive editor of Khaleej Times.
Bangara said the budget’s focus was on the development of infrastructure which will result in higher efficiency across all sectors.
“A clear roadmap is drawn for rural and urban growthfor the economy to reach $5 trillion in 2025. Internet facilities, rural electrification and infrastructure projects will change the face of India. As Benjamin Franklin once said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Similarly, an investment in growth pays the best interest,” Bangara said.
“It is appreciable to see the revenue slab is also increased to ?400 crores for the reduced 25 per cent corporate tax rate, which will give boost to the important segment.” He praised Finance Minister Sitharaman for bringing down the budget deficit.
TN Manoharan, non-executive chairman of India’s Canara Bank, said trade deficit gap is shrinking and it has come down to $96 billion. “This gap will come down further as exports are increasing and imports are going down. Future revenues growth will be larger, therefore, we can say depreciation of rupee will not happen. Rather there will be appreciation of the rupee,” he said while addressing ICAI members late on Saturday.
He predicted that the rupee will trade between 68 to 72 against the US dollar (18.5 to 19.6 versus dirham).
Shahdadpuri termed Sitharaman’s budget as a socio-politico-economic budget. But he called for increased focus on rural areas, manufacturing sector and infrastructure development.
“No nation can grow without industrialisation. Manufacturing contributes just 22 per cent of GDP which needs to be raised to 35 per cent. India requires over $1 trillion in 4-5 years for infrastructure development but only $450 billion has been allocated,” Shahdadpuri said.