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What they liked and disliked about the Budget

Last updated on: March 17, 2012 16:56 IST

What they liked and disliked about the Budget

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Anuja Chauhan, Author, screenwriter and advertising consultant

What is the best thing about this Budget?

The marks the FM is getting on this budget sure wouldn't get him admission into Shri Ram College of Commerce. He's averaging six or seven out of 10, as far as I can tell. Some nice things seem to have been done to encourage the small investor. Farmers benefit and so does infrastructure. HIV medication will be cheaper, which is good, and visits to the gym and beauty salon will cost more, which is good too, because yummy mummies make me want to hurl.

What is the worst thing about this Budget?

This negative list on what services are exempt from the service tax looks like its going to be a major fun-spoiler. Plus, because its gone up to 12 per cent, building my house is going to get more expensive. Basically, as I have no intention of importing a fancy car, there's no good news in the budget for me.

Will this Budget revive the economy? Is it bold enough?

The FM says the budget's pro the small taxpayer, but I don't think people with an income of Rs 2 lakh are going to be very happy with the news that they stand to save Rs 2,000 per month. As far as subsidies go, the PM talks of biting the bullet and consulting all allies in the same breath, so, um, good luck with that. I feel I should end this on a positive note, so I'll just add that the FM looked like pretty cute in his dark blue bandhgala. Really.

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Tikka Shatrujit Singh, Chief Representative in Asia for Louis Vuitton

What is the best thing about the budget?

There is nothing really good about this budget. One will have to read the fine print to see what the Direct Tax implications are.

What is the worst thing about the budget?

It's disappointing. There is nothing positive in it for the luxury sector. There is status quo on the foreign direct investment (FDI) situation. Maybe they will track it after the budget. Retail is a very important sector which has not been addressed. The increase in service tax is also a dampener.

Do you think the budget will revive the economy? or is it not bold enough?

Investment is slowing down. So is manufacturing. We needed major incentives to bring in investors. We need to make the environment far better for them. Investment is pouring into Brazil, South America, China, etc.We are missing an opportunity here. I am sure a lot of investors would be disappointed.

If you were the finance minister, what would you have done with the budget?

I would have looked at reducing corporate tax to attract investment. The personal tax slab too should have gone up to encourage more people to pay taxes. I would have also looked at FDI which would have been a game-changer for multi-brand and single-brand retail.




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Goutam Ghose, Film maker

What is the best thing about the budget?

From the perspective of a film maker, I believe the proposal to exempt the industry from the service tax on copyrights relating to recording of cinematographic films is welcome. It is a good decision. It was difficult for the industry, as the government had put each and every thing under the service tax. We were demanding a similar relief for a long time.

Do you think this Budget will revive the economy? Or does it lack boldness?

As far as reforms in the Budgets are concerned, I believe that in a country like India, with huge disparities and with the compulsions of coalition politics, it is difficult to come up with massive reforms all at one go, so I had not expected any massive reforming measures.

If you were the Finance Minister, what would you have done with the budget?

If I were the Finance Minister, I would have learnt lessons from the bleeding economies of the West and taken reformative steps. You have seen what is happening with Wall Street and the European economies. India should not follow what Wall Street dictates. We should be independent as far as economical decisions are concerned.

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Prahlad Kakkar, CEO, Genesis Films

What is the best thing about this Budget?

I think it is difficult to say. It does look like a growth-oriented Budget but whether growth actually happens or not remains to be seen. Corporate tax hasn't been increased so I am sure that will make a lot of companies happy.

What is the worst thing about this Budget?

Service tax being increased is certainly a disappointment. Small -- yet important -- things like an increase in mobile phone bills or the cost of eating out doesn't bode well for the common man. The rich, too, will be disappointed as they will have to shell out more money to buy diamonds or expensive cars.

Do you think this Budget will revive the economy? Or does it lack boldness?

I think the Budget has the right intention in places and has attempted to push things in the direction of a strengthened economy. But, of course, there are some things whose fine print may still need to be understood to see whether they will help to revive the economy or not.

If you were the Finance Minister, what would you have done with the Budget?

If I were the Finance Minister I would have reduced the tax burden on people who earn less than Rs 5 lakh per annum.




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Resul Pookutty, Sound designer

What is the best thing about the Budget?

I call the Union Budget a "three-day budget" because of the predictions and highlights paraded across the print and electronic media a day before and after the budget is announced. Yet, a few months later, the targets and promises are forgotten. However, this budget seems to be a growth-oriented one, with a focus on infrastructural development.

What is the worst thing about the Budget?

Though we have a target growth rate of 7.6 per cent, there seems to be no clear road map to achieve it! The rise in service tax from 10 per cent to 12 per cent is the biggest blow to all of us. Third, the telecom sector has been completely ignored. The government won't touch it due to the controversy surrounding it.

Will the Budget revive the economy or does it lack boldness?

This is not a bold budget, but a clerical one. It lacks tough policy decisions. Though the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Saving Scheme may encourage the middle class to invest in the market, it will not be a major booster.

If you were the Finance Minister, what would you have done?

I would have abolished the income tax system altogether and encouraged the domestic market to grow!




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Valmik Thapar, Natural historian and tiger conservationist

What is the best thing about this Budget?

There is nothing which is the best in this Budget. This Budget has lost an opportunity to be dynamic in terms of innovative reforms or even just simple individual tax exemptions. This is a status quo Budget with few risks and some tinkering around.

What is the worst thing about this Budget?

The worst part of this Budget is that there is not even a mention of either forests or our wild landscapes, which make up 20 per cent of our landmass. This is ignored and that to me is a shocking sign of how India is governed. We have no understanding in this country of how to keep our natural treasures safe through innovative financial allocation, etc.

Do you think this Budget will revive the economy? Or does it lack boldness?

Though there is some forward thinking on infrastructure it is not enough. Much more in this vital sector was required.

If you were the Finance Minister, what would you have done with the Budget?

I would have created a huge focus on health and education in rural areas. I would have much greater input into infrastructure. And, most important, I would have created a green NREGA to keep India's forests and wilderness alive to sustain the quality of life of our people. Sadly, the vital connections between forests and water are mostly ignored by politicians and bureaucrats. When will they learn? Until they do, we will go on suffering from a lack of deep thinking and fiscal action.




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