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Industry Experts Hail Budget 2021 As Nirmala Sitharaman's Team Talks About Way Forward

A man watches a live streaming of the Budget on his mobile phone, in Kolkata on Monday. (AFP)

A man watches a live streaming of the Budget on his mobile phone, in Kolkata on Monday. (AFP)

The team behind the budget — Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Secretary, Finance and Tarun Bajaj, Secretary, Economic Affairs, Debashish Panda, Secretary of Financial Services and Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary DIPAM talked about why the growth and tax targets are realistic and their forward plan taking from the Budget 2021.

Day after the Union Budget 2021, industry experts during the CNBC-TV 18 Budget Town Hall called it a success. Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala rated the budget "10/10" and former vice chairman of Niti Aayog, Arvind Panagariya, said the budget ticked all boxes.

Meanwhile, the team behind the budget — Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Secretary, Finance and Tarun Bajaj, Secretary, Economic Affairs, Debashish Panda, Secretary of Financial Services and Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary DIPAM talked about why the growth and tax targets are realistic and their forward plan taking from the Budget 2021.

Jhunjhunwala told CNBC-TV18 that the budget was conveying much more than what was being understood, adding that it was a clear shift signalling that the government would do "whatever it takes" to grow economically.

He said the budget indicated that the government will be bold, and was laying the ground for India to witness double-digit growth. According to Jhunjhunwala, the budget was growth oriented.

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"We have a resurgent, bold India on course for double-digit growth. India will not be able to absorb all the cap expected to come into the country. FY22 fiscal deficit will be between 6-6.5 percent and tax collections will be much better," he said.

He pointed out that for the first time, the government had called out rating agencies for the way the viewed India, adding that the country will "overtake China in the next 25 years."

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Panagariya, adding to the accolades for the Budget, said, "Budget 2021 ticks all important boxes — public enterprise policy, bank privatisation and LIC IPO are key announcements. The government has already provided a huge stimulus."

"Capital going into import substitution will leave less for export incentives. Looking at 8% plus growth in the next two decades if the budget is implemented," he added.

Sitharaman's team speaks

Ajay Bhushan Pandey told CNBC-TV18, “The estimate that we have given both on the expenditure side as well as on the revenue side they are very realistic. So far as the current year is concerned we have already passed 10 months, we have a fairly good idea of how much we have collected and how much we have spent. What we have tried to do in this budget is that we have transparently put the revenue side as well as the expenditure side and then from there this fiscal deficit number that 9.5 percent as come in.”

Meanwhile, Tarun Bajaj said, “This glide path is very much achievable and we have actually been very truthful while coming out with our numbers and we have not tried to overestimate or to bow before the people who have been saying that we should not move away from the 3 percent fiscal deficit target.”

Taking about the future plans for LIC, Tuhin Kanta Pandey said, "Have identified independent actuarial firm for an IPO for LIC. Hope to have an IPO for LIC in financial year 21-22."

He also said, "Trying to close the BPCL and Air India deal by end of March or early Q1."

He called the new policy on strategic disinvestment "a landmark policy" and said it was a "clear declaration of intent on the part of the government."

Debashish Panda, Secretary of Financial Services talking about asset reconstruction companies (ARC) and asset management companies (AMC) to help public sector banks, said, “Decided to set up an ARC and AMC. ARC will warehouse all stressed assets of ticket size of Rs 500 cr. AMC will try to operate stressed assets in the interim. AMC will try to dispose of the stressed asset.”

He added, “Seventy stressed assets have been provided for looking at a cash neutral solution.”

He added that three committees will decide on the privatisation of banks, and will make necessary amendments to facilitate it. “We will try to bring amendments as fast as possible, cannot give a timeline. Will work closely with DIPAM to unlock maximum value,” Panda said.

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