Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in exclusive conversation with the top industrialists of the country at the India Today Budget Roundtable, commented on the negative momentum generated in the domestic equity market post the budget outcome. Sitharaman said, "I do not let markets affect me".
Indian equity indices fell sharpest since October 2018, with Sensex, Nifty falling almost 2% each on Monday, with investors losing close to Rs 3.2 lakh crore in one day's fall.
Speaking at the India Today Budget Roundtable, Sitharaman, while speaking on the stock market reaction to the budget announcements said, "I do track the markets but I also keep moving. I don't want them to affect my calms."
It was mayhem at Dalal Streeton Monday, just one day after the Budget 2019 announcement when strong selling interest by investors was registered in almost all sectors, with major bearish momentum in CPSE, Realty, Auto, Infra, PSE, Energy as well as other banking indices.
Elsewhere in Asia, markets opened significantly lower on Monday as hopes of steep cuts in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve faded after the US posted better-than-expected jobs data Friday.
Initially, on Budget day, Sensex reclaimed the 40,000 level before the speech started, which later fell as the FM finished her maiden Budget speech. Sensex lost 908 points intra day taking the total losses of the last two sessions to 1,375 points (467 points plus 908 points). Nifty lost 437 points intraday in both sessions.
Friday's Union Budget, proposed the minimum public shareholding in listed companies in the equity market segment to 35% from 25%. The budget also failed to impress stock market investors as they were expecting Nirmala Sitharaman to roll back long term capital gains (LTCG) tax on equity investments in Budget 2018.
Additionally, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to extend the buyback tax at 20 percent to listed companies as well, which means, a listed company will now have to pay tax on buyback under section 115QA at the rate of 20 per cent plus applicable surcharge and cess.
FM Sitharaman acknowledged that markets do not bother her at all and said, "I think it will take awhile for me to get too carried away by that."
Another announcement which has come under scrutiny is the increase in surcharge on individuals earning Rs 2-5 crore a year to 25%. The FM said that this might prove to be a boon and not a bane for them. She justified how the tax on the rich could be productive, adding that "the country needs a contribution from all of us".
She further added how the government has given back to the nation quoting, 'which helps poor as well as the rich' by taking steps like GST, reducing the number of taxation slabs,, better infrastructure like roads and airports, improving trade facilities for export and import etc."This country needs a bit more contribution from all of us. I am certainly not in agreement with people who have told me this is robbing."
Three days after delivering her first Budget speech, the Finance Minister met the representatives from the Indian corporate sector and economists for the Budget Roundtable. FM on Monday, addressed a group of economists and industrialists, namely MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank Uday Kotak, chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, Sanjiv Goenka, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry Chandrajit Banerjee, chief economist (India) at Citibank Samiran Chakraborty, Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group and economist Ila Patnaik.
Uday kotak, while commending FM for the bold steps announced in the budget said, "With the steps taken by the FM, there is significant monetary policy room".
"Indian industry, if it gets significant improvement in interest rates, that will certainly help animal spirits,"said Uday Kotak. He added that these steps could change the interest rate scenario of the country.
Edited By Rupa Burman Roy