Economists, professors and those in the corporate sector don’t seem to be too impressed by P. Chidambaram’s task of fixing the economy at a time when the aam aadmi chant of the Congress is at its shrillest.
Faced with fiscal deficit, Chidambaram’s effort to “navigate the Indian economy through a crisis” has struck experts as having more misses than hits.
Development economist Ramesh Sharan said PC played safe. “There should have been more allocation for MGNREGS and ICDS. There is little relief for those who earn between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh in a year,” he said, but agreed PC did not have many options.
Associate professor of XISS, Ranchi, K.K. Bhagat wasn’t impressed by allocations for social infrastructure but was happy about the 10 per cent surcharge on those whose annual income exceeded Rs 1 crore. “We need to strike a balance and convergence of three Ps — profits, people and planet,” he said.
Reliance Industries group president (corporate affairs) Parimal Nathwani, also Rajya Sabha MP, said Jharkhand should be pleased about the proposed biotech research institute in Ranchi. “Also, small and medium industries should take advantage of the finance minister’s announcement that they will get listed with the MSME (Micro and Small Medium Enterprise) Exchange without having to make a public offer,” he added.
Back to roots
Ranchi-based Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FJCCI) president Ranjit Kumar Tibrewal said rural concern was progressive. “Rs 25,000 crore for tribal sub-plan, Rs 65,000 crore for human resource development, among others, are welcome,” he said, but added the silence on reining in inflation was deafening and defeating.
Chief executive officer of Bokaro Steel Limited Anutosh Maitra hailed the prudent positives. “It addresses multi-pronged issues to get growth back on track, while simultaneously aiming at fiscal consolidation. Thrust on investment-led growth is the overarching theme,” he said.
Hemlata S. Mohan, chairperson of state women’s commission and a well-known Bokaro educator lauded the allocation of Rs 97,000 crore for women’s development. “But I didn’t get any major announcement in education,” she said
Federation of Dhanbad Zilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rajiv Sharma was disappointed by the staid tax slabs. “Due to inflation, everyone expected relief with a push in income tax slabs but no announcement in this regard was made. Plus, instead of allocations, stress should have been on utilisation of funds,” he said.
Dhanbad-based Arun Kumar Singh, state president of Indian Medical Association, said the move to extend the benefit of Rastriya Swasthya Bima to auto and taxi drivers was an eyewash. “Instead, PC should have cut medicine cost ,” he said.
H.M. Nerurkar, Tata Steel managing director, called the budget inclusive. “Given the global economic scenario, it is an attempt at inclusive growth,” he said.