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Reflections from Davos

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

It’s been an exciting week at Davos. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum this year was refreshingly different from previous editions. There is a general sense of optimism.

Although the effects of the recent crisis linger on, businesses and business leaders are acknowledging that we are seeing signs of recovery. In Davos, I had conversations with business leaders, heads of industry bodies, as also members of the academic and media fraternity. Each of these conversations resonated optimism.

(Pictures: World Economic Forum)

I also saw a few themes and points of view being discussed frequently, not only in my own conversations but also in several sessions at Davos. The most popular one was of the relevance of the theme of the annual meeting.

Everyone seemed to agree that the need of the hour is to reshape the world to ensure that every individual has equal access to an acceptable standard of living. The world of extremes in which we live today is not a sustainable one. The ever-increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots is unacceptable. More importantly, it is not conducive for socio-economic progress.

Budget 2013: Need to review tax incentives

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not those of Reuters)

It’s going to be a tight budget this year and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will be looking to save every rupee in revenue to reduce the budget deficit, to which he has committed. One option would be to withdraw tax incentives which have outlived their purpose.

The finance ministry is only too aware of revenue lost from tax incentives. In 2011/12, it was a loss of 5.29 trillion rupees. If tax incentives are withdrawn, the 2013/14 budget would be in surplus. Nothing would amuse the finance minister more.

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