When the wise men spoke

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SMC’s Special Correspondents Aman Goel & Padmavathi report the Panel Discussion on Budget 2014-15 at IIMB

Panel Discussion at IIMB

For the first time in 3 decades, a government was handed a clear mandate of ushering in economic recovery. A billion people eagerly watched as the Modi government presented its first Union Budget on 10th July. We at IIM Bangalore had the privilege of attending a panel discussion reviewing the budget within hours of its announcement.

Devoid of any loud or prescriptive rhetoric, the panel discussion was an objective and insightful take on one of the most awaited events of the year.

A packed auditorium greeted the expert panel consisting of Mr. S. Raghavan, Director, Larsen & Toubro Finance Limited; Mr. B.P. Rao, Founder & Senior Partner of B.P. Rao & Co., Chartered Accountants in Bangalore, Chennai and Mysore; Mr. V. Ramu Sharma, Chairman of Bangalore Commodities Ltd & Founder of Rasratha Securities; and Mr. V.K. Viswanathan, Chairman, Bosch Ltd. Our in house economic expert, Dr. Charan Singh, conducted the panel discussion.

Dr Charan Singh began by providing us with the backdrop to the budget and an overview of the Indian economic scenario.  He then proceeded to list the highlights of the budget and set the tone for the next hour of discussion, covering various aspects right from domestic and foreign industry, to taxation and stock markets.

The speakers detailed the various provisions of the budget pertaining to each area. Some measures were appreciated by all the panelists such as the focus on fiscal management through monitoring subsidies, plugging leakages in public distribution systems, increase in FDI cap in insurance and defense etc. The panelists also lauded the government for innovative schemes such as the setting up of 100 “Smart Cities”, the National Rural Internet and Technology Mission and the setting up of a 10,000 Cr innovation fund. IIM B entrepreneurs, are you listening?

However, there was a consensus that certain areas such as implementation of a sanitation program, schemes for aging people and a focus on strategic think tanks were all conspicuous in by their absence.

The overall sentiment was that, in the words of Dr. Charan Singh, “No evil was done”. While the budget contained tremendous scope for creation of employment, it did not distinguish itself as anything more than a continuation to the UPA’s interim budget. The panel was optimistic about a more substantial budget after the government completed a year in office.

The event concluded with an enthusiastic Q&A session with the students and the hope that this engaging and informative event would reach more students each year.