March 4, 2000
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The Rediff Jury's Verdict

Govt bit the bullet to curb fiscal deficit: Sinha defends Budget 2000
"The Budget should be appreciated since it has undertaken a major rationalisation of tax structure by doing away with various exemptions. The attitude of 'I'm special, I should not be taxed,' should be given up," the finance minister said.

'The govt has lost control over the fiscal situation'
Former Union finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram on the Budget.

Email this report to a friend 'The Budget is geared towards continued reform'
"Prices of computers and infotech-related gadgets will drop because of reduction in excise duty while software exports will probably rise by 50 per cent despite the tax on export earnings," says Gopichand P Hinduja, president of the Hinduja Group.

'Whatever happened to harsh decisions?'
Infosys Technologies chairman N R Narayana Murthy and Confederation of Indian Industry president Rahul Bajaj on the Y2K Budget. In Real Audio.

'This Budget cannot be fairly described as a whimper'
"There has been a deliberate effort to spread the burden of fiscal adjustments equitably across all segments of the society and to do it in a way which does not hurt the underlying dynamism of the economy," says Dr Shankar Acharya, chief economic advisor, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

'The Budget is anti-poor'
"States taking up innovative schemes, power sector reforms and people's empowerment programmes, besides following financial discipline, should have been properly rewarded," says N Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.

'It's a mixed Budget as far as software and IT are concerned'
Infosys Technologies chairman N R Narayana Murthy on the Budget.

'A small tax on software industry would benefit other sectors like the Internet'
"In terms of building Internet infrastructure and opening up the telecom infrastructure, some concessions have been shown, but not enough. The Budget fails to take advantage of the current situation," says B V Jagadeesh, co-chairman, Exodus Communications Inc, USA.

'Budget encourages setting up of tech companies'
"Some of the new companies might fail but those which will survive might even giants. The Budget proposals for venture capital funds would also encourage science and scientists," says D R Mehta, chairman, SEBI.

'The increase in FII limits and retail investor preference for equity funds will augur well'
UTI Executive Director Basudeb Sen on the Budget.

The most important advantage that has accrued to the common man is the low rate of inflation
"Every effort was made to minimise the impact on the lower income groups of the salaried class," says Dr E A S Sarma, secretary, economic affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

'This Budget is retrograde'
Former Union minister Dr Subramanian Swamy on the Budget.

'There has been an acknowledgement that the IT and telecom industries are the key drivers of the economy'
Bharti Telecom CMD Sunil Mittal on the Budget.

Positives outweigh negatives in this mixed bag
"The Budget aims to strengthen and modernise traditional industries, reduce infrastructure bottlenecks, acccord high priority to human resources development, increase exports and foreign direct investment, and signal towards lower interest rate," says Birendra Kumar, managing director and chief executive, SBI Capital Markets

'It is a modern-looking Budget'
FICCI president and Duncan chairman G P Goenka on the Budget.

'Everyone is worried about lack of courage in handling the fiscal deficit problem'
"There is nothing for the core sector or anything that will boost the primary market," says Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan.

'The FM has duped those below the poverty line'
"An eight per cent hike in excise duties will fuel inflation. These are sufficient reasons to conclude that the finance minister had neither a plan nor vision on which way India should go," says Sitaram Yechuri, CPM's Politburo member.

'This is a revenue generation exercise that will raise the prices of many consumer products'
"While the concept of CENVAT across the board at 16 per cent is a good move, if you read the fine print, you may find that this may have some inflationary impact," says C Y Pal, chairman, Cadbury India Limited.

'In terms of taxes and provisions, Non Resident Indians are on a good wicket'
"Some procedures that apply to Non Resident Indians have not been simplified, such as Section 195 of the I-Tax Act which relates to deduction of tax at source on all payments to NRIs," says Anil Harish, advocate, D M Harish & Company, Bombay.

Good on social front, neutral on pharmaceuticals
The MRP-based excise valuation system rationalises the duty structure and will reduce the motivation for contract manufacturing. In the medium term, this will improve quality of medicines produced in India,
says H F Khorakiwala, chairman, Wockhardt group.

'In terms of the telecom sector, I'd give the Budget 7 for 10'
Virat Bhatia, managing director of AT&T India, on the Budget.

'There is nothing anti-industry in the Budget'
Price WaterhouseCoopers chief Amal Ganguli on the Budget.

'Even Cinderella had a fairy godmother, tourism is still waiting for one!'
"I'm disappointed with the Budget as it has phased out the exemption of tax on profits, and also not provided any specific measures which will promote business or leisure tourism," says Ravi Bhoothalingam, president, the Oberoi Group.

Part II of the Rediff Jury's verdict on Budget 2000

Dun & Bradstreet Budget Special | The Run-up
Budget Process | Budget Hotlinks | NDA Government & Economy
Official Web site of the Ministry of Finance: Budget 2000 document
Ministry of Finance: Economic Survey 1999-2000

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