Friday, 29 February 2008

Budget growth-oriented but ignores NRIs: Experts

Budget growth-oriented but ignores NRIs: Experts
29 Feb, 2008, 2033 hrs IST, PTI

WASHINGTON: US-based Indian scholars today termed the Union Budget as growth-oriented and "populist" while lamenting the non-inclusion of any benefits for NRIs. "The budget is in line with expectations. With the election year fast approaching, the Finance Minister has proposed a populist budget aimed at using fiscal measures to boost growth and control inflation," said Anirudh Sarathy, analyst for StreetEdge Investments in San Ramon, California.

While describing the budget as a "good" one, Dr Kamala Edwards, President of the Indian-American Leadership Council, said Finance Minister P Chidambaram seems to have missed an opportunity to provide incentives to NRIs like China did. "One thing that is missing is that the Finance Minister should have given some more incentives for NRI investments like China has done for its citizens and this has been a very good feature because that made growth almost permanent for China," Edwards said.

She also warned that the country's "inflated" stock market, which is mostly based on institutional foreign investments, is "almost a recipe for disaster." "If there is so much foreign investment, the moment it is pulled out like we have it happen in South Korea and other East Asian countries, India will be in trouble," she said.

Ashok Mago, Chair of the Dallas based US-India Forum, echoed her sentiment, saying: "There are no provisions to encourage NRI investments." Mago said the budget was aimed to please "everyone particularly farmers and low and middle income constituents. This budget is providing all indications of early election".

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