THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Pranab-da’s Shakespearean quote “I must be cruel only to be kind,” failed to enthuse Thiruvananthapuram Inc, as most of the business honchos who attended a live session organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries’ (CII) city chapter on Friday gave a thumbs down to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s Budget 2012-13.
“The political compulsions of coalition politics seem to have held back the Finance Minister from making any big ticket announcements. While the steps towards financial consolidation are appreciable, no corrective action on MAT for SEZ has been taken. It is just an average Budget,’’ said V K Mathews, executive chairman, IBS Group.
He said the constraints of the Finance Minister should also be understood as the performance of the current financial year was bad. “This fiscal, the tax collection was pegged at Rs 6.60 lakh crore, but of this, only Rs 5.50 lakh crore was collected. The incentive planned was Rs 1.43 lakh crore, but ended up giving away Rs 2.43 lakh crore. The expenditure as per the Plan outlay was 3.7 per cent, but it overshot to 13.7 per cent. This background should be understood when someone tries to evaluate this year’s Budget overall,” said Mathews.
P Ganesh, Chief Executive, GEFAB-Facade Solutions Pvt Ltd, said the Budget lacks the road map for controlling fiscal consolidation and big bang reforms. “The Budget does not have any big announcements which were expected this year,” he said.
Industry experts felt that the announcement to extend the scheme of interest subvention of 1 per cent on housing loans up to ` 15 lakh where the cost of the house does not exceed Rs 25 lakh for another year and enhance the limit of indirect finance under priority sector from Rs 5 lakh to ` 10 lakh will not be of much benefit to the Kerala housing sector.
However, C Padmakumar, Chairman, CII Thiruvananthapuram Zonal Council, said there is continuity and the Budget sticks to the overall long-term growth plan.
“The Finance Minister closed by saying that the Budget was intended to create an enabling atmosphere for business, agriculture and the common man. Important announcements which will help to do so include measures like increasing Aadhaar enrolment to 40 crores, a proposed Public Procurement Bill, the National Skill Development Fund, NRHM, the DMRC project, tax breaks for R&D and widening of the tax base. The Public Procurement Bill is an important measure which can go a long way in improving India’s dysfunctional public procurement system, which is the root of much corruption,” he said.