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Slash personal tax, give confidence to stakeholders: India Inc at WEF

Govt officials said more structural reforms, after the ones announced recently, would be forthcoming.

Dilasha Seth Shine Jacob & Indivjal Dhasmana  |  New Delhi 

Industry group pitches for removal of surcharge on category III AIFs

The economic slowdown the country faces may last until there is greater confidence in investors and consumers, industry feels.

At the on Thursday, its representatives asked for more measures such as cuts in personal income tax rates to elevate consumer demand.

Government officials said more structural reforms, after the ones announced recently, would be forthcoming.

“The government is making all efforts, but certain steps are needed at the ground level,” said Hemant Kanoria, chairman and managing director, SREI, on the sidelines of the summit, organised by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

He said banks were scared of lending because they could be hauled up if any project went wrong.

Investors are wary because they could be probed by the investigating agencies under complex laws, Kanoria said.

On the other hand, consumers are not spending because there are uncertainties about jobs.

It would be difficult to revive the economy unless these issues are resolved. However, if they are taken care of, revival will not be very far, he said.

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Pradeep Mehta, secretary general of Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), said the Modi Government 2.0 did not have good macroeconomic advisors.

He said it was not that people were not spending, though they might not be buying consumer durables.

Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, said the government should provide more stimulus to industry and bring down personal income tax rates even if these might widen the fiscal deficit.

He said it was difficult to say till the end of the festival season if demand was picking up.

“We should make sure that the second half of the financial year is much better … where we need to create the situation where we give more incentives. This measure should happen on the tax front — personal income tax and other issues as well,” he said.

Sumant Sinha, chairman and managing director, ReNew Power, said though corporate tax cuts had been announced, more needed to be done.

“The government is trying its best to revive the economy and get back to 7-8 per cent growth. The steps that are being taken are going to help. I think what doesn’t help is the global backdrop,” he said.

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Anil Talreja, partner, consumer division, Deloitte India, does not think there is a slowdown. “There was a muted period because of reports on the auto sector, but sentiment has improved after the government took reform measures,” he said.

NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said there would be more structural reforms.

“More structural reforms are in the offing. The government has pushed for public sector disinvestment. I can tell you we have pushed for asset monetisation in a very big way. Our belief is that instead of greenfield projects, investors must come into brownfield projects,” he said at a panel discussion in the summit.

Kant also said the government must be a facilitator, a catalyst and should keep itself out of business.

Guruprasad Mohapatra, secretary to the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, said with a strong policy-driven government at the Centre, favourable conditions existed in India to achieve the target of $5 trillion economy by 2024.

"We in India are in cusp of a great opportunity and we are targeting at reaching $5 trillion economy by 2024 and reach $10 trillion economy by 2030," he said.

The government has worked towards ease of doing business over the past five years, he added.

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"In ease of doing business, we have achieved much success … right now we are at 77th position...expect it to get better in the next rankings," Mohapatra said.

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat warned of greater economic uncertainties due to the ongoing US-China trade war, and said the conflict would significantly disrupt the global supply chain if it continued.

Stating that other countries are suffering “collateral damage”, Keat said: “...I think that if this conflict continues, it will disrupt the global supply chain in very significant way.”

In an opinion piece for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's website narendramodi.in, WEF President Borge Brende said with a decisive leadership, India now had a significantly enlarged global profile and the stage was set for the country to realise its vision of becoming a $5-trillion economy in the next five years and a $10-trillion one in the next 15 years.

First Published: Thu, October 03 2019. 21:46 IST
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