The Department of Economics, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Jain (Deemed-to-be University), Bengaluru organized "Pre Budget conclave" on 29 January 2018.
The panel of academicians analyzed the expectations from the Union Budget of 2018 which ought to be presented by Honorable Finance Minister Shri. Arun Jaitley in the parliament on 1 February 2018 from the view of various sectors. Further, the platform was set up to discuss about policy initiatives, key aspects of the Direct and Indirect taxes implications on different sectors, Fiscal Responsibility, Budget Management, Equity, Inequality and Poverty Alleviation, Deficit and Debt Indicators, Sectoral impact, Employment Generation, Infrastructure, Priority sectors etc. The discussion was followed by a question and answer session.
The panelists were Dr. Abdul Aziz, Rajyothsava award recipient, National Law School of India University, Dr. Kaiser Ahmed Professor of Economics, Al Ameen College of Arts and Science, Dr. Xavier V. K. Professor of Economics and Head, Jain (Deemed-to-be University).
Dr. Abdul Aziz, NLSIU, Bengaluru noted that the investments were on a steady decline to 27 percent from 34 percent, not just limiting itself to government but also to the private space. He suggested that appropriate re-allocation of funds were the need of the hour to boost investments in infrastructure, electricity and power, transportation, and social sectors of health and education. He also highlighted that agricultural growth rates had fallen to 2.1 percent from 4.9 percent in the last decade. It was also imminent that the primary sector employed 60 percent of the workforce, with a majority employed in disguise or under-employed i.e., with extremely low marginal productivities of labor. It was also brought to discussion that irrigation facility on small scale such as rejuvenation of local village tanks and desilting of check dams as the minor project developments would yield higher benefits compared to a costly affair of undertaking mega projects. It was duly acknowledged that power and electricity form an essential input for the agricultural economy.
Dr. Kaiser Mohamed, Professor of Economics, Bangalore University noted his opinion about the rise in crude oil prices, probable rise in interest rates, huge outflow of funds, and 3F’s – food, fertilizer and fuel. He took a strike at the fall in consumption and aggregate demand within the low income group and those who are underprivileged or poor. It was highlighted that cumulative growth of exports was 0 percent. On the other hand, he stressed the importance of disinvestment from areas in which the government is no more competitive. He genuinely appreciated the positive outlook that programs such as make in India, stand up India, start up India and digital India had increased the economy. On a stronger note, it was agreed that crypto currencies were on the rise and posed substantial threat to the traditional monetary system in terms of regulation. Lastly, the huge expanse of land held by the railways was put to scrutiny so as to liquidate them and utilize the same for other purposes.
Dr. Xavier V.K. Professor and Head of the Department of Economics, Jain (Deemed-to-be University), observed that the budget must be viewed pragmatically in terms of the state can do and what it cannot. He added that the budgets must fulfill the role of allocation, distribution and stabilization. Professor distinctively rose attention towards the most probable increase in tax slabs or a decrease in percentage tax rate. He conveyed a sense of disappointment with respect to the high levels of corporate income taxes and the necessities to reduce it significantly.
The conclave concluded with a grand panel discussion organized by the 1st year students of the department which shed light on the history,expectations, and compliance of budgeting in general.