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Budget now, growth later

A panel discussion on the upcoming Union Budget presented by the Calcutta Management Association in association with The Telegraph at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday ended with the consensus that such discussions would not be needed five years from now as the economy would grow steadily without having to rely on the budget.

Budget Expectations 2013 — Plugging the Holes and Filling the Potholes was attended by Anup Sinha, professor of economics at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, Aniruddha Lahiri, the president of Chatterjee Group, Sanjay Buddhia, the managing director of Patton Group, Abhirup Sarkar, professor of economics at Indian Statistical Institute, and Partha Sarathi Ganguly, the CEO of Saraswati Online.

The panellists were unanimous in the opinion that the Mamata Banerjee government should have little expectations from the budget, which is essentially a “political game”, as the relationship between the centre and the state has soured.

The gloomy growth rate of the economy, stagnation in the growth of manufacturing and service sectors and ways to bridge the gap between India and Bharat to ensure inclusive growth in the economy were some of the key issues discussed by the panel.

The discussion opened with Sinha and Sarkar agreeing that there was little to be expect from this year’s budget. While Sinha called for “fundamental restructuring in agriculture and infrastructure”, Sarkar said the government should not intervene too much in market policies and instead let the market operate on its own.

Lahiri, however, was optimistic about the finance minister addressing fiscal deficit, supply chain constraints and scarcity of land for manufacturing projects.

Ganguly dwelt about the need for budgetary allocations in the education sector and Budhia advocated a growth mantra for the government.

Rajarshi Sengupta, the executive director of Deloitte and Touche Consulting was the moderator for the evening.