Commenting on the Vote on Account presented today by the Government, Mr. Sidharth Birla, President, FICCIsaid "The statement made by the Finance Minister was balanced and largely on expected lines. While industry expections were limited from an interim budget formality, the emphasis laid on turning around the growth trajectory and reviving the manufacturing sector in particular are well received."
The maximum focus this time was on the fiscal deficit number, a figure being closely watched by all investors. "The Finance Minister has stuck to what he had promised with fiscal deficit being kept at 4.6 per cent of GDP in fiscal 2014 and lower than the budget estimate of 4.8 per cent. The future direction being given with regard to central government finances is also good. While this was the last budget of the government, yet the Finance Minister refrained from announcing any large populist measures",added Mr. Birla.
Industry has welcomed the initiative of a ten point charter outlining the vision for future of the Indian economy. Many of the points mentioned such as need for fiscal consolidation; importance of foreign investments for financing CAD; creating a balance between price stability and growth; deepening the financial sector reforms; intensifying efforts on infrastructure development; boosting manufacturing growth with zero taxing of exports and minimum tariff protection to encourage domestic value addition; containing subsidies; having planned urbanisation and pushing skill development have been highlighted by FICCI even in its most recently launched 'Economic Agenda for Growth'. "While many of these points are aspirational, these are all achievable through concerted effort and a coordinated approach between centre and states", said Mr. Birla.
The financial markets also received well deserved attention in the Vote on Account statement with announcements pertaining to revamping of the ADR / GDR Scheme; liberalising the Rupee denominated corporate debt market; deepening and strengthening the currency derivatives market; creating one record for all financial assets of individuals; enabling smoother clearing and settlement for international investors for investing in Indian bonds. "These measures will help in further broadening of the Indian financial market and efficient availability and utilisation of risk capital", said Mr. Birla.