“Budget proposals should focus on growth and alongside look at fiscal management from a 3-year perspective,” Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president Uday Kotak said at the customary pre-budget meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday. “Aggressive disinvestment and monetisation of assets can augment government’s revenues at a time when tax revenues have fallen.”
Kotak said the government should bring down its stake in public sector banks to below 50% through the market route over the next 12 months, except for 3-4 large PSBs such as State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Union Bank. Industry body Ficci backed the recommendations made by the internal working group of the Reserve Bank of India on ownership guidelines and corporate structure for Indian private sector banks should be taken forward. “Proposals for allowing large well governed NBFCs to convert into banks and allowing large corporate and industrial houses to promote banks should be implemented,” it said.
Sitharaman held two rounds of discussions with the industry on the first day of the 10-day pre-budget consultation exercise. Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumder Shaw and Bharti Enterprises vice chairman Rakesh Bharti Mittal were among business leaders who attended the meeting.
CII pitched for easing tax compliance. It suggested a move towards competitive import tariffs over three years, with lowest or nil slab on inputs or raw materials of up to 2.5%, standard slab for final products between 5% and 7.5%, and intermediates at intermediary level between 2.5% and 5%.