Industry asks govt to boost private investments to kick-start growth

Prominent industrialists on Thursday urged the finance ministry kick-start economic growth by encouraging private investment, improving regulatory environment and increasing export competitiveness.

In a customary pre-budget consultation with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and top officials of the finance ministry, industrialists suggested ways to boost the rural economy by boosting consumption. “Other suggestions included ideas to improve IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) in relation to NCLTs (National Company Law Tribunals) and banks; faster mergers, acquisitions & demergers processes, ways to reduce time for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) approval; structural changes in laws for effective and stable business environment; time-bound decisions for augmenting Ease of Doing Business both at Central & State levels; new investment of capital for building infrastructure; Capital expenditure for infrastructure to boost economy; preventing predatory pricing and dumping in India; facilitating R&D in India to boost Make in India; harnessing Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) by leveraging social funding through a new programme; ensuring liquidity for NBFCs (Non-Bank Financial Institutions) with focus on rural economy and ways to increase consumption in economy,” finance ministry said in a statement.

Vikram Kirloskar, president of Confederation of Indian Industry who was present in the meeting suggested that decriminalizing various laws and procedures would address the issue of trust deficit. “This will be in line with the principle that entrepreneurship is a risk venture. Any willful defaults should be dealt with firmly. However, in most cases the penalty of fine should be enough to deal with inadvertent non-compliance,” he added.

Among other industrialists who participated in the Pre-Budget meeting included Sunil Bhrati Mittal, Founder & Chairman of Bharti Enterprises; B.V.N. Rao, Chairman, GMR Group; Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director and CEO, Ashok Leyland Ltd.; Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group; Jatin Dalal, Global Chief Financial Officer, Wipro Ltd.; Manoj Chugh, President, Group Public Affairs and Member-Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.; Ravi Raheja, Group President, K Raheja Corp Group; Acharya Balkrishan, Chairman Patanjali Ayurved Ltd.; Sandip Somany, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI); Balkrishan Goenka, President, ASSOCHAM among others.

Sitharaman is scheduled to present her second budget on 1 February amid expectations that she would announce fresh measures to reverse the current economic downturn that has led to GDP growth hitting a six and half year low at 4.5% in September quarter.

“Till now, across the board, whoever has asked for our intervention, we have responded to them. I will be keen to see if these steps are meeting the expectations of the sectors concerned. If not, I may want to see if I need to do more,” Sitharaman said at a press briefing last week. The government announced corporate taxes cuts besides offering incentives to exporters, automobile companies and builders in a series of announcements starting in August.

Sitharaman on Thursday also met representatives of Trade Unions and Labour Organisations as part of the pre-budget consultations. The participants aired their concerns about provision of social security for workers besides skilling, re-skilling and up-skilling of existing labour force. They also emphasised quality of job creation and ensuring minimum wages of workers in detail besides the need for streamlining various schemes to have better results. “Experts and representatives from various Trade Unions (TUs) and Labour Organisations gave suggestions related to skill development in labour intensive areas, alignment of skill development initiatives with cluster developments, creation of dedicated fund for skill enhancement , allocation of more funds to MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), increase of number of days of work under MGNREGA, legislation for various welfare schemes for permanent benefits, separate fund for revival of job creation via MSMEs, increase in social sector spending, unorganised sector workers’ benefits including land less farm labourers, consultations with trade unions for finalising Code on Safety, Industrial Relations & Social Security,” the finance ministry said in a statement.


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