Dubai: Non-resident Indians in the UAE on Friday described the Union Budget as “populist” but were disappointed that it did not contain any benefit for the 20 million expatriate community.
Members of the large Indian community here met at a function organised by Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) this morning to listen the budget speech of Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Analysing the Budget proposals, Suresh Kumar, CEO of Emirates Financial Services and a former IBPC governor, said the budget lacks boldness. “Though it is goody-goody budget, it is not good enough”.
Kumar said the finance minister should have given more emphasis to infrastructure and agriculture and try and repeat the urban growth story in rural areas where more than 70% of India lives.
“We should have targeted 10% agricultural growth which would have helped remove poverty in the long run rather than 3% at present,” he said.
Paras Shahdatpuri, a leading local businessman, said the budget ignored the contributions made by the huge NRI community.
“NRIs have huge financial and technical wealth, which can be used in the development of India in a better way. The budget has been silent on special economic zones, which has been a model of growth in China,” he said.
“It is Indian-friendly, but not India-friendly and will not go a long way to lure the global investors,” Shahdatpuri said.
IBPC governor Abbas Ali Mirza said many of the sops given to sectors like textiles, which were suffering as a result of rupee appreciation, is “welcome”.
“Although the economy is growing fast, but if India is to become the economy of the world, it has to grow faster,” Mirza said.
Ashok Gupta, CEO (Gulf Operations) of Bank of Baroda, said the budget caters to all sections of the society, especially the low-end who have been ignored in the past.
“Some of the measures like reduction of excise duties on raw materials will make manufacturing more competitive, especially at a time when the sector is facing competition from global players,” he said.
Talking about the increase in short-term gains tax, Gupta said the move will make markets less volatile and largely good for the health of the capital market. “It will bring genuine investors, thus more stability to the market.”
K V Shamsuddin, chairman of the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, criticised the minister’s proposal giving debt relief to farmers, saying the government should give support to agriculture to increases productivity, instead of debt relief.
“The proposal is disaster since many farmers will take loans without using it productively,” he said.
Chidambaram had announced a whopping Rs60,000-crore package to provide relief to the indebted farming community by waiving loans of small and marginal farmers.