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February 28, 2001                                       Feedback  

    - EXIM POLICY '00



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'There are feel good factors in many areas'

H F Khorakiwala

I think this is a positive Budget. There are feel good factors in many areas. To begin with, it is a growth-oriented Budget and it will stimulate the stock market. The elimination of surcharges both on corporates and individuals, the reduction of dividend tax etc are good measures. All these indicate a change of direction and that is important, very important for the Indian economy.

It is the simplification of taxation that is the hallmark of the Budget. Especially in cenvet, the finance minister has done a good job. One can see these happening in customs duties also.

On the research and development front, the finance minister has given it a better direction. Also Sinha has given emphasis this time in sectors like bio-technologies, clinical trials etc. It is also good to see that the allocation for health has gone up by 16 per cent. I would call it a reversal of trends.

It is a brilliant move to hike allocation for education. It was much-needed. Downsizing is an important issue and Sinha has kept it in mind. But it all depends on how other ministries react. The political will of the government and its coalition partners is the most important thing.

On the divestment front, I disagree with one proposal. The finance minister wants all the money to be spent on social sectors. I think that is a wrong approach. I think he should use the money to reduce government debt. The social sectors should be taken care of by normal budgetary plans. Then, restructuring of PSUs should not be the government responsibility alone. A PSU itself should find funding from outside.

H F Khorakiwala is chairman and managing director, Wockhardt Ltd

Budget 2001

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