The 82nd annual Budget presented by Union finance minister P Chidambaram in Parliament today has focussed on a number of areas and has brought changes in several arenas as well. Here are some of the reactions from Indian leaders and business heads.
Reacting to the Budget 2013-14, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "The finance minister has done a commendable job in containing the deficit while simultaneously addressing the growth imperatives. If India succeeds in getting to a growth rate of eight percent, the winner will be the people of India, especially our youth, who need desperately new productive job opportunities."
According to KPMG India CEO Richard Rekhy: "Duly recognising the prevailing fiscal and economic impediments, the FM seems to have lived up to the expectations of India Inc in presenting what can be termed as a popularistic and a rather progressive budget aimed at sustainable growth and economic development for the nation."
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley thought that the the budget was "verbose but on substance, extremely low." "First put the economy in distress; then a helpless finance minister comes out with a budget in which he has very little elbow space," Jaitley said.
“There is a growing demand for augmenting our infrastructure facilities to sustain as well as accelerate the growth momentum. To provide a requisite push to investment in the infrastructure sector, fiscal policy would have to play an important role, especially at a time like this when business sentiments are low and the economy is in the grip of a slowdown,” said CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee.
Hinduja Group Chairman Srichand P Hinduja said in a statement, "As promised, the finance minister has delivered a responsible Budget with the objective of achieving higher all inclusive and sustainable economic growth,"
"The Budget has balanced near-term priorities and long term growth drivers," said ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive Chanda Kochhar and welcomed the commitment shown towards fiscal consolidation.
"Instead of taking decisive steps to control surging inflation, the budget has pushed the people into an atmosphere of gloom," said Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
SAIL chairman C S Verma said, "Thrust on investment–led growth is the overarching theme of the Budget ... credit enhancement to infrastructure debt funds, tax-free bonds...proposals will yield low cost funds for infrastructure building. Moreover, these measures will lead to increased steel use at a time when demand for steel has moderated this year."
"Many proposals are development-inclusive. It will add to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. We are particularly glad to see incentives for agricultural sector, MSME sector, infrastructure and capital market," said CII President Adi Godrej.
"The finance minister has presented a bold and pragmatic Budget, ahead of the general elections next year. It is an investor-oriented and growth-oriented Budget," said Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat.
Meanwhile, the US-India Business Council (USIBC), representing 350 global companies investing in India and a score top Indian corporates, gave high marks to finance minister P Chidambaram for steps being taken to consolidate India's fiscal position.
"The government of India recognises that a growth rate of 5% will not run its economic engine fast enough to create the jobs necessary to put India's young population to work," USIBC President Ron Somers said.
(With inputs from IANS, PTI, Agencies)