Pragmatic Budget aimed at alleviating marginalised: Vedanta's Anil Agarwal

The Union Budget 2020 delivered by Honourable Finance Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman aims at caring for the society and marginalised communities and aspires to boost the economy. 

The Government has chosen fiscal prudence over a massive spending programme. Now, its priority should be to efficiently finance and rapidly implement the National Infrastructure Pipeline worth Rs 102 trillion it has previously announced. 

This will provide the necessary boost to demand in the economy. I believe that the private sector is key to economic revival and I am glad that the FM has recognised its wealth potential creation and has committed to transparency and a hassle-free tax regime. 

The budget has proposed some bold reforms and has taken into consideration some of the major issues that were previously plaguing our economy. Its focus on sectors such as Education, Affordable housing, Road Infrastructure, PSU Disinvestment, etc are much needed.

The abolition of Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) will go a long way in boosting investor's confidence and improve the ease of doing business in India. Taxing dividends in the hands of the shareholder will both be fairer and more revenue-efficient than the previous scheme of taxation.

The decision to sell a part stake of LIC must have been a very difficult one but a much needed one. This should pave the way for aggressive divestment of various other public sector enterprises. The Government should bring its stakes down in PSUs to 50 percent enabling the creation of an independent board and appointment of professional management. divestment will free the government from ownership and operational worries thus raising production, revenues and creating huge employment as well. 

Last year the government had increased customs duty on gold and other precious metal from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent, however this year we were expecting similar steps to safeguard domestic industries like aluminium, copper, iron ore and coal by raising import duties or correcting inverted duty structure. 

The government also needs to focus more on under-the-ground exploration, not only to drive self-sufficiency and cutting dependence on imports but to propel Indian economy towards the $10 trillion mark.

The budget has also rightly focused on one issue that has been very close to our hearts for many years now. We fully agree with Hon FM’s statement that ‘the Health of mother and child are closely correlated’ and thus the nutrition levels of children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers are very important.

Our dream flagship project ‘Nand Ghar’ which aims at modernizing anganwadi’s all across the country intends to create a “Model Anganwadi” in terms of infrastructure and services. It was very heartening to see the government’s intentions to equip more than 600,000 anganwadi workers with smart phones to upload the nutritional status of more than 100 million households. As rightly mentioned by the government, the scale of these developments is unprecedented.

Emphasis on the Government’s plan to bring in a New National Education Policy to transform India’s higher education system to one of the global best education systems is a welcomed initiative and has been long overdue. The youth of our country urgently need guidance and appropriate platforms to help them explore unconventional career opportunities.

Job creation has been an issue and the government has realised the need to look beyond traditional avenues of employment. Our country is rich in culture and has an enormous potential for tourism, the government’s plans to establish an Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation under Ministry of Culture with a status of a deemed University, is a brilliant move. 

This will open avenues for alternate career options for our youth providing knowledge in disciplines such as museology and archaeology which are essential for collecting and analysing scientific evidence of such findings. The Five archaeological sites planned to be developed as iconic sites with onsite museums will also ultimately lead to a boost in employment opportunities.

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