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'Budget unlucky for NRIs'

A leading Indian businessman in Dubai, "deeply regretted that Jaswant Singh has not considered the recommendations of NRIs.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2003 19:26 IST

Remittances and inflows to India could be affected by the budget presented by Indian Finance Minister Jaswant Singh in Parliament on Friday, a prominent Gulf Non-Resident Indian (NRI) has said.

Bharatbhai Shah, a leading Indian businessman and social worker, "deeply regretted that the finance minister has not considered the recommendations of NRIs.

"It is a known fact that NRIs in the Gulf made strenuous efforts to lobby against the recommendations of the Kelkar Committee to remove the not-ordinarily resident (NOR) status of the NRIs," he said.

"But, unfortunately, the finance minister has preferred not to consider our representation to retain the NOR status, which is very necessary in the interest of the country and for an attractive environment for NRI investments in India," he held.

"The budget is lucky for all but unlucky for NRIs," Shah maintained.

At the same time, Shah welcomed the general reformist measures in the budget, holding, "It is one of the finest budgets and will benefit the poor, needy and the farmers."

Shah said he would continue his efforts to convince the government to reconsider the changes made in the NOR status if the government wished to retain the confidence of the NRI investment community worldwide.

In January, NRIs in the Gulf had vehemently opposed the Kelkar Committee recommendations.

Shah said the committee's suggestions to completely do away with the NOR status of NRIs would not only create new hurdles for them, but might also discourage them to remit and invest back home.

According to Shah, the NOR status has been beneficial both to the NRIs as also to the country as this provision has encouraged returning NRIs to bring all their savings bank to India.

"The removal of NOR status will be detrimental to the interest of NRIs, who may become residents (by staying more than 183 days in India in a year, if the Kelkar Committee recommendations are implemented," he pointed out.

Shah opined many NRI's would be forced to keep their funds outside India, while some would not even declare their funds in India.

First Published: Feb 28, 2003 22:15 IST