The Bangalore International Centre (BIC) organised an interactive discussion on the Union Budget 2008-09 on 7th March, 2008.
The Macro analysis of the budget was done by Prof . S L Rao who moderated the discussions. Dr. G Thimmaiah, former Director of ISEC, Mr. B K Bhattacharya, former Chief Secretary, GOK and Shri Amarnath Kamath, a well-known Chartered Accountant participated as Panelists.
While analysing of the distinctive features of the “please-all” budget presented by the Finance Minister, all the panellists agreed that there was a hint of early elections in the air and the budget, to an extent reflected this. There was a general agreement that agriculture, particularly dry-land farming, has become an unviable proposition and that the limited loan-waivers promised in the budget would be basically providing relieve to some, and not rehabilitation to any. The speakers suggested long-term approaches to restructure the agricultural base and the credit facilities. Apprehensions were expressed that the fiscal deficits would be higher than those projected and that the loan waivers would further worsen the situation. The measures to rationalise the personal taxation system were praised, though there were muted regrets about the anomalies continuing in the Corporate Tax structure. Mr. Amarnath Kamath highlighted the taxation proposals through a presentation which is attached.
The discussion that followed was both interesting and illuminating.