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Straight from the Specialists

Budget 2013: Consistent reforms, effective execution is the key

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

In what is widely perceived to be the UPA government’s final budget before polls due next year, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is likely to continue with the economic reforms he introduced in recent months.

Although these policy announcements may have boosted sentiment, the key to long-term economic growth is consistency, transparency and speed, followed by effective execution on the ground.

Chidambaram will have to balance the twin imperatives of encouraging domestic demand and stimulating growth while keeping the fiscal deficit and inflation under control. A prerequisite for domestic growth is encouraging investments into Indian industry and infrastructure, including healthcare and education. Improved infrastructure would improve productivity and lower the cost of doing business in India, thereby providing multiplier benefits for the economy.

Stimulating investment activity would also require increasing the availability and reducing the cost of long-term debt funding through regular banking channels, development of the corporate bond market, leveraging insurance and pension funds to invest in Indian corporates, dedicated infrastructure debt funds and supporting fiscal incentives. Development of the domestic private equity and venture capital industry would also benefit the economy.

Budget 2013: Getting the wow factor back

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

Gone are the days when Indians used to wait for the budget in February to buy new things. In the 1990s, capital market investors also waited with bated breath for the annual budget to spell out tax and policy measures that affected the fortunes of sectors and companies.

But over the years, the budget lost its wow factor, becoming more of a ritual presentation of the government’s finances, resource allocation, fundraising and spending. This is because most taxes have been rationalized (although some scope still exists) by successive governments and different ministries announce various policy measures throughout the year.

Budget 2012: Need for innovative incentives

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Every year as winter gives way to spring, a nation of over a billion wakes up to different expectations on Budget day.

It’s Budget week but be ready to book profits

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The markets ended in negative territory for the third straight week after the ruling Congress party suffered a setback in the recently held assembly elections, clouding the government’s ability to push major economic reforms. However, a sharp pullback of 2 percent seen on Friday saved the indexes from suffering major losses.

India Inc hopes for action on GST

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

India Inc has time and again expressed its desire for early implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST). While implementing GST may take at least a year, the 2012 budget will clearly indicate the Centre’s seriousness in implementing GST.

Keeping fingers crossed in the run-up to Budget 2012

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

It’s interesting that in India, the run-up to the annual Budget means individuals, companies and industry associations keep their fingers crossed in the hope their annual budgets don’t get affected by the announcements of the Finance Minister.

Union Budget 2012: Need for a concrete plan

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Like every budget since the subprime crisis of 2008, the one on March 16 will see the Finance Minister walking a tightrope between fiscal consolidation and growth. The only difference being — this time the government is really constrained to provide a fiscal boost to consumption.

Budget 2012: Common man’s expectations

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The weeks before the Union budget are days of wishful thinking for the common man. It is always the expectation that the threshold and tax exemption limits will be increased. This year is no exception, and the common man would definitely be happy if his wishes are met.

Budget 2012-13: Expectations and exigencies

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The Union budget has always provided major policy direction which has been anxiously awaited by the common man and the industry. But over the years, the tax system has become more crystallised and yet expectations have not ceased.

Budget FY 2012: A neutral event

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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee (C) arrives at the parliament to present the 2011/12 budget in New Delhi February 28, 2011.  REUTERS/B Mathur/Files(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The FY 2012 Union Budget is largely a neutral event:

The Budget provides incentives for increased infrastructure spending along with increased funding sources while highlighting supply side issues in agriculture with an effort to provide solutions.

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