US industry bodies applaud fiscally balanced Indian Budget
The Dollar Business Bureau
“I am in complete agreement with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: When you look around the world today and witness all the retrenchment and chaos underway from Russia to China to Brazil, India stands out as a beacon of stability and predictability,” said Ron Somers, founder and CEO of India First Group.
In its appraisal of Union Budget 2017, The US-India Business Council (USIBC) applauds Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for presenting a 'forward looking' budget. Mukesh Aghi, President, USIBC, said that the FM has, despite a challenging global environment, done an admirable job in announcing propelling measures for domestic economy and supporting foreign investors.
Ameliorating recessionary impact of demonetisation, investing in skilling Indian youth, and enhancing ease of doing business, without compromising on a strong fiscal deficit target is a great feat achieved by the Finance Ministry.
Relaxing of capital gain taxation and renewed focus on 'affordable housing for all' with a 50% rise in allocation for rural housing, are welcome steps for USIBC. Commitment to foreign investments, push for a digital economy, spending on infrastructure in civil aviation and roads, and pro-digitisation measures for the rural economy were also appreciated by USIBC.
Rick Rossow, from Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), opined that the importance of Budget as a prime policy making tool has diminished from the early 1990s. The shift in spending priorities that the Budget brings out can take years to show results, he said. Citing most notable features, he said that the incorporation of Railway Budget and the preponement of its presentation to Feb 1 were the structural changes that stood out.
Transparency in political funding brought by capping cash donations at Rs. 2,000 was also appreciated by CSIS.
Karun Rishi, President of USA-India Chamber of Commerce (USAIC) termed the Budget 'well-balanced' and 'fiscally prudent'. He said that abolition of FIPB, 28% increase in allocation for health sector, and strict adherence to a tight fiscal policy were laudable efforts. Reflecting on the initiatives outlined by the Govt in the health sector, Rishi said the plan to eliminate Leprosy by 2018, Tuberculosis by 2025, Measles by 2020, Kala Azar and Filariasis by 2017, showed the government's commitment to a healthy India. The addition of 5,000 PG medical seats is also likely to improve R&D capacity.