Sitharaman holds pre-Budget consultations with prominent industrialists


New Delhi, Dec 19: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday held her sixth pre-Budget consultations with leading industrialists who called for a reduction in personal income tax rates to revive consumption amid the continuing economic slowdown.

She is likely to present her second Budget for the Modi 2.0 government in Parliament on February 1.

During the interactive session lasting over two hours, prominent businesspersons spoke about improving regulatory environment to safeguard investments through the ease of doing business, increasing export competitiveness, reviving private investment and kick-starting the growth of the economy.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder Chairman of the Bharti Airtel Group, called for more freedom to industries to thrive. He said there is a need to balance investments and call rates for telecom service users.

Sanjeev Goenka, Chairman of the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, spoke about the infrastructure and power sector. There is a need for significant investments in energy-saving equipment and pollution-control devices, he said.

Ravi Raheja, Group President of K Raheja Corps, said the government should increase tax reduction for buyers of residential apartments. Schemes already announced should be activated and implemented, he said, as the demand side factors can have a multiplier effect.

The other industrialists suggested ways to boost the rural economy, faster mergers, acquisitions and demergers processes, ways to reduce the time for foreign investment approvals and structural changes in laws for effective and stable business environment.

They also spoke about preventing predatory pricing and dumping in India, facilitating R&D to boost Make in India, harnessing the public-private partnership (PPP) models by leveraging social funding and ensuring liquidity for non-banking finance companies with a focus on rural economy to increase consumption in the economy.

The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur, Finance Secretary Rajeev Kumar, Secretary at the Ministry of Corporate Affairs Injeti Srinivas, Secretary at the Department of Economic Affairs Atanu Chakraborty, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Secretary at the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management Tuhin Kant Pandey, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Guruprasad Mohapatra, Director General of Foreign Trade Amit Yadav, CBDT Chairman Pramod Chandra Mody, Chief Economic Advisor K V Subramanian and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

Leading Industrialists who participated in the meeting represented GMR Group, Ashok Leyland, Wipro Ltd, Mahindra & Mahindra and Patanjali Ayurved. They were joined by CII President Vikram Kirloskar, FICCI President Sandip Somany and ASSOCHAM President Balkrishan Goenka. (ANI)