Business Today's Associate Editor K.R. Balasubramanyam spoke to Manipal Global Education Services Managing Director and CEO S.Vaitheeswaran on his expectations from the Budget 2013. Excerpts -
Q. Given the current challenges, what, in your opinion, would make a good budget? What measures or proposals would you like to see?
A. A development oriented budget with less red tape. I would like to see the fiscal deficit come down. Reduce subsidies and make the system efficient to reach them to the actual beneficiaries without leakages.
Full coverage:Union Budget 2013-14
Q. Given the constraints the government faces in raising revenue, do you see a case to increase income tax rates on the rich?
A. No. It is the non-plan government expenditure that needs to come down rather than increasing the tax on the rich, which could again lead to tax avoidance.
Q. If the budget does not meet expectations, do you fear that business sentiment would once again dip?
A. Yes. We are currently seen as inactive and unwilling to make changes as a government.
Q. Specific to your sector, what could the current budget do to improve conditions?
A. On higher education, I would like to see the following:
a) Redefine the regulatory role to focus on quality and outcomes.
b) Encourage private participation and grade universities based on quality.
c) Have a single window for all regulatory issues and abolish multiple agencies.
d) Incentivise use of technology to disseminate quality education through online portals.
e) Implement the Narayana Murthy Committee's recommendations (on corporate governance).
Q. Which budget, in the recent past, do you remember as having been a good one?
A. None, recently.