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Finance Minister said the government should be the facilitator; She was speaking at an interactive session organised by BCIC (Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said that India’s growing and aspiring needs, as well as demands, cannot be only served by the Central and State governments.

She emphasised that the private sector has to be involved and take part to meet these demands. The Honourable Minister said that while the government should play the role of the facilitator, the private sector ought to be the growth driver of the economy.

At an exclusive interactive session organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC), she also highlighted the role played by the private sector in helping project India’s image as a ‘global friend’ in the dissemination of the Covid vaccinations, and said vaccines from India have so far been sent to around 100 countries.

Directional change

The Minister said that the Budget intends to be the provider of directional change for the economy in the post-pandemic world. Referring to the fiscal deficit, she said it will be eventually controlled and not left unattended; while also stating that fiscal management is a key focus area for the government.

In his opening remarks, BCIC President T R Parasuraman hailed the Union Budget presented by the Minister on February 1 as the “greatest of the decade” and added that every sector is celebrating it.

“The target of $5 trillion economy by 2025 is no longer a dream as is the intent for the manufacturing sector to contribute 25% to the economy. While the fiscal deficit target of 9.5% is challenging, it would help propel India’s growth,” said T R Parasuraman.

Terming the Budget as an “important and milestone one”, BCIC Senior Vice-President K R Sekar said the government is committed on infrastructure spend, education and health care.

Talking about BCIC’s post-Budget suggestions, he said a cultural corridor should be created pan-India to help boost tourism and increase infrastructure spend; profit-linked scheme should also include R&D, Goodwill should not be kept retrospective, and clarity should be given on the reassessment of tax to clarify that only evaders would be punished.

Founder and Chairman Wipro Ltd Azim Premji, Manipal Global Education Services Pvt Ltd Chairman Mohandas Pai, Narayana Health Founder and Chairman Devi Shetty and Bharat Fritz Werner Ltd CEO and MD Ravi Raghavan also shared their suggestions with the Honourable Minister.

Azim Premji complimented the government for enabling work from home which benefitted Tech sector to grow 2.3% during this fiscal and create 1,38,000 net new jobs. He exhorted the government to engage the private sector in administering Covid vaccinations in large numbers and also stressed the need for all Indians to contribute to charity in some measure.

Intellectual capital

Mohandas Pai spoke about the need to invest in intellectual capital in various sectors as well as the need to liberalise the policy environment for start-ups and the need for a push towards digital education.

Devi Shetty emphasised the need to have a national strategy to get $100 billion annual remittances from health workers in five years and emphasised the need to modify curriculum to PBL to help candidates clear entrance tests. He said this would also help increase the supply chain of qualified doctors and nurses from India.

Raghavan said while the PLI scheme is a great initiative, some more interventions are needed and the government should help the manufacturing sector focus on the end product. He added digitization would help improve the functioning of the manufacturing sector.

The session ended with the audience posing questions to the Honourable Minister, who was receptive to all suggestions. BCIC also presented the post-Budget memorandum and Supplemental Report on Digital Transformation to the Honourable Minister at the event.

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