Pune: “We should exempt all working women from paying Income Tax for 10 years, which will help increase the Women Labour Force Participation, which in turn would contribute to national income and increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said economist Ajit Ranade at the panel discussion on Union Budget 2019-20 organised by Pune International Centre (PIC) on Friday.
The panel discussion was held at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and saw the presence of Prof Anjan Roy, Associate Professor, National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM), Pune, Dr Rathin Roy, Director, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), Delhi, Prof Sangeeta Shroff, Professor, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE), Pune, and Dr Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Research Director, India Development Foundation (IDF), Delhi. Dignitaries including Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, President, PIC, Dr Vijay Kelkar, Vice President, PIC, Prashant Girbane, Director of PIC and Gautam Bambawale, former Indian ambassador to China and Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan among others were also present at the event.
“As the savings rate has been declining in India, encouraging people to save through Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGBs), which are tax-free with 2.5 per cent interest and mirror the market prices of gold, will help save money spent on importing gold as well as help increase the savings rate,” added Ranade.
Dr Rathin Roy, Director, NIPFP, Delhi, said “We are going toward a silent fiscal crisis. He pointed out the difference between tax revenue number presented in Budget document and as that by the Provisional Accounts in the Economic Survey. He also said that the fiscal deficit is being maintained on account of reducing expenditure but both set of documents are silent on where the cuts are going to be made.”
According to Prof Anjan Roy, Associate Professor, NIBM, the premium banking institute of the country, the banking sector with deposits of Rs 126 lakh crore is looking at 10 per cent growth. “But there are various challenges, as there have been 2 years of negative growth with Rs 10 trillion spent last year. The banking index is going downwards and there is pressure for growth. The banks are becoming more cautious as the budget provides a strong amount of credit flow with Rs 100 lakh crore investment in infrastructure projects, retail and manufacturing sector,” he said.
Prof Sangeeta Shroff, Professor, GIPE, Pune, said that with the total budget of Rs 1,94,513 crore, about Rs 1,84,220 crore was spent on food subsidy with the rise in minimum support price. “We are procuring excessively with wheat at 10 million tonnes and rice at 5 million tonnes, which is resulting in wastage of resources,” she said. Stressing on the agricultural sector, she said that Rs 1,38,564 crore was spent with 84.3 per cent spent on Direct Income Support scheme. “The government decided to distribute Rs 75,000 crore to 125 million farmers. The agriculture share increased by 82.9 per cent this year and the farmers with the pay bracket between Rs 2,799 and 1,500,00 were given equal subsidy, which is impractical,” she added.