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Union budget evokes mixed response from Gulf business leaders

twitter-logoPTI | February 1, 2019 | Updated 19:02 IST

Dubai, Feb 1 (PTI) Business leaders in the UAE gave mixed reaction to the interim budget on Friday as some welcomed it, saying it showcased the achievements of the government while others criticised it as an "election budget" with no word on job creation and nothing for the NRIs to excite them to invest back home. Sudesh Aggarwal, Chairman India Trade and Exhibition Centre M.E and Chairman Giant Group, said that the farmer income support scheme and increase in taxable income slab is to garner votes in the election year. "The vision to increase GDP to USD 5 trillion in 5 years and to USD 10 trillion in 8 years is dream only as it will require an annual GDP growth of 15 per cent in first 5 years and then 25 per cent in next 3 years which is not possible,” he said. He said there were also no word on jobs creation. “It is double sword budget, may be they win with dreams shown, otherwise leave a legacy for the incumbent government to fight,” said Aggarwal. Sripriyaa Kumaria, Director General of ITEC M.E and Secretary General - Business Leaders Forum said the interim budget presented by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal highlighted the government's focus on healthcare and agriculture which is a welcome move. "The full tax rebate on annual income of up to Rs 5 Lakh is definitely a huge relief for the middle class tax payer. The announcement that businesses with less than Rs five crore annual turnover, which comprises over 90 percent of GST payers, will be allowed to return quarterly returns is a welcome move for the existing SME’s,” she said. According to Kumaria, the policies of this government or any government will only show results with effective administrative policies and good governance which ensures that the policies are implemented in the right spirit. "The government's policy of minimum government with maximum governance and to be proactive, responsible with friendly bureaucracy should not remain as just statement, but should be implemented to show visible results that can be felt by the common public people,” she said. She also said that no word on job creation is the biggest problem facing a populous nation like India. "If the above ambitions are to be achieved, job creation has to be addressed which starts right from basic education to skills leading to jobs. As for NRI’s there’s nothing in store that excites the NRI’s to invest back home,” she said. Meanwhile, welcoming the budget, Kamal Vachani, Regional Director, Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) and Group Director, Al Maya Group called it a "balanced interim budget". "A number of social schemes announced by Finance Minister are wlcoming steps which includes assured income support scheme for small and marginal farmers, new pension scheme, etc," he said. According to Vachani, full tax exemption for income up to five lakhs is a major step, which will benefit middle income tax payers in a big way. “The other important steps are raising of standard deduction from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000, TDS interest limit from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000, capital gains exception available on 2 properties up to Rs 2 crores, abolishing of custom duty on 36 capital goods are welcome steps taken by FM,” he said. Vachani said that simplifying tax returns, scrutinising of IT returns within 24 hours and single window clearance for Indian filmmakers are also welcome steps taken by the finance minister. PTI CORR PMS AKJ PMS PMS

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