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BW Businessworld

Time has come when we need to start spending more of big expenditure and private investment into primary agriculture: Rakesh Bharti Mittal

Post Budget session, BW Businessworld caught up with Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman of Bharti Enterprises and the President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Photo Credit : Ritesh, BW Businessworld


You said, this is a balancing act. Any salient feature you want to talk about? Do you think some critical components are left out in the budget?

No I think, he (finance minister) has covered the entire landscape. That way, I must complement the finance minister. Given, this is the election year budget and being an interim budget, containing the fiscal deficit within 3.4 percent is a great job done by the finance minister.

Having said that clearly, we were looking for the focus on the farm sector and on the social sector and I think the financial minister has done very well on that front. Clearly, farmers need support going  forward and I have always believed that just giving subsidies or loans waivers is not going to help to take away the stress of the farmers and farmers' families.

Time has come when we need to start spending more of big expenditure and private investment into primary agriculture, and ultimately, the subsidies in a way needs to be rationalized and (invest into) more infrastructure like irrigation, canal irrigation and micro irrigation and protected cultivation. I think, these are the things which the government needs to put money into research and development and extension service.  This is where I think clearly private sector is waiting in the winds-to come and invest.

Do you see any major policy direction in the interim budget as far the unemployment is concerned?

Well, I would say if you are looking at almost 6 crore beneficiaries under MUDRA scheme where over 7 lakh crore has been distributed or given as micro loan is clearly helping the employment situation. While this data doesn’t get tracked so if we talk of 6 crore individual who got this amount so clearly we have created 6 crore self employed people.

Any job, any business, any small micro enterprises you start you at least have one or two people. So, if you look at one then we are talking about 6 crore coming in the job market. The only thing is this data doesn’t get captured. It’s only the organized sector data which we look at. 

In a last four and half year, significant employment in the unorganized has come out. I think the scheme on the pension scheme- the MEGA pension scheme- where unorganized sector employees after the 60 will get Rs.3000 a month.  I think it’s a very powerful scheme which has been made.

What is your taken on the defence with increased allocation to Rs 3 lakh crore? Is it enough?

 I think it’s the need of the hours; we just need to see that government start investing. But more importantly, how we can look at the make in India program on the defence sector.