‘Budget fine, but things not moving fast enough’

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Mar 04, 2016 16:40 IST
Finance minister Arun Jaitley (centre) along with his budget team leave the North Block to meet the President before presenting the Union Budget 2016-17, in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI File Photo )

Leading figures from the world of finance and industry, including top executives from Rolls Royce, JCB and Usha Martin, have given a thumbs up to the Union budget presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley, but at the same time expressed “frustration” that things were not moving fast enough on the ground.

Most executives at an event held at the Indian high commission here on Wednesday gave the budget a rating of 7-8 out of 10. The large allocation for infrastructure was particularly welcomed.

They, however, complained the retrospective tax issue was not “fully addressed” and there was not enough to kick-start private investments.

Read | Budget 2016-17 talks more on social sector, but low on action

Likening India’s economy to a “massive oil tanker” that had gone off course in recent years, Anuj Chande of consultants Grant Thornton said it would take a long time to bring it back on course. He said the budget was “incremental” in the process.

Chande welcomed the “massive reform agenda” in the budget, but said the GST bill may have become a political issue and even if it were passed, the infrastructure to implement it from April 2017 was “nowhere in place” across India.

John Copley of Rolls Royce noted the absence of the defence sector in the budget, which he said was a “great opportunity” for the government’s “Make In India” programme. There was no abrupt change of direction in the budget, he said.

The event, titled “India Budget Analysis — A Briefing for the UK Business Community”, was preceded by a meeting between high commissioner Navtej Sarna and members of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) - India Business Forum (IBF).

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