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Budget 2018 Reactions: It Takes Care Of Every Section And Strata Of Society, Says Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII

"I think this is the right budget to address some of the most critical areas that we face in the country today," says Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII

In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, shares his views on the Budget introduced on February 1st. Edited excerpts:

There will be a BW Report Card – On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate the budget?

I would say it is a very good budget. There is no rating. I don’t think that is a correct way to give. My ratings would be different from your standard of ratings. It addresses all sections of the society and all issues and all concerns very adequately. It meets the all our expectations which is very important.

Do you think it is a populist budget?

Very honestly, I won’t call it a populist budget at all. I think it is a budget which is extremely thought through to reach out to every section of the people. All along, over the last few months, the narrative that we have been hearing is we need to focus and do something strong with regards to the rural sector, farm sector, for those who are poor, not employed, generating employment, etc. So if you do something for them it is not populist. It is very critical. So I think the budget has gone into that detail of getting into sections of those societies who have faced difficulties over the last many months. 

Has the current budget adequately addressed the creation of jobs?

I think it is being most appropriately addressed at this point of time. Everything cannot be done overnight. This budget is incentivizing employment by participating in the socials security net. It is also bringing down the effective for say the women contribution level and also for the incremental addition to the labour force where the government is participating. Secondly, what is being done is extending, what has been done for the apparel and textile sectors, to leather and footwear sectors. These are employment generating sectors and when you have taken the approach of that kind of fixed-term employment, which is very good and important. Thirdly, the overall budget contours is helping in is greater growth, buoyancy, private sector investment, and also the impetus to the rural sector. All in all, I would also see employment coming from growth and buoyancy. 

Is the rural distress/ agriculture crisis adequately addressed in the Budget?

I think it is a perfect balance that is being done to address that and it is being very well addressed to give this kind of an attention into the rural and agri sectors. It is really a thumbs up for the government and for the Finance Minister to give to the rural (sector) and also in the manner that it has been given to them. It has been done very aggressively and very correctly without being populist.

If you can summarize the budget in brief. 

It is a very good budget which takes care of every section and strata of the society very carefully. So I would think this is a budget right for the moment at a time when the economy needs to pick up at a much faster pace. This budget is appropriate when there is a need for greater employment generation and also when we need to have a very strong agri and farm sectors also when we need more private sector investment. Given all of this, I think this is the right budget to address some of the most critical areas that we face in the country today.  The budget could have provided some leeway for large corporates and could have done something on disinvestment which was a very big opportunity for the government.

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