Panel discussion on the 2015-16 Union Budget at UoH
The School of Economics (SoE) University of Hyderabad, had a Union Budget Panel discussion, comprising a diverse panel of academicians and corporate representative, organized by the Research Scholars of the School. The Discussion was chaired by Prof. D. Narasimha.Reddy, eminent economist and former Dean, School of Social Sciences, UoH and currently associated with the Institute of Human Development, New Delhi. The panel included Prof. Sheela Prasad, Centre for Regional Studies, UoH, Prof. Debashis Acharya, SoE and Dr. B. L. Biju, Department of Political Science, UoH and Mr.Tapan Gupta, Director- Corporate Taxes, KPMG, who provided a multi-disciplinary approach to the discussion.
Prof. D. Narasimha Reddy initiated the discussion stating that Budget is a serious affair with dimensions that impact every aspect of society and is a reflection of the complex political relations that are the part of governance. At this juncture where fiscal deficit, current account deficit are in control and inflation is manageable, the government is expected to set a chord and it is to be discussed how the budget answers these expectations.
The discussion proceeded with Dr. Debashis Acharya highlighting the macroeconomic aspects of manufacturing growth, public and private investment, household, public and private savings, NPAs in banks and oil buoyancy in the past few months. He also spoke on fiscal consolidation through restriction of fiscal deficit to 3% by 2017-18, tax and expenditure reforms, Financial Sector Legislation and the Monetary Policy Framework Agreement.
Mr. Tapan Gupta said that it is a balanced, forward looking budget and gave the tax perspectives of the budget with an emphasis on GST, transfer pricing and retrospective taxation. He remarked that the stressed balance sheets and liquidity crunch are ailing the infrastructure sector and discussed other expectations of the corporate sector from the budget.
Dr. Sheela Prasad focused on the preliminary reading of the budget for women and health, concentrating on the gender perspective. The question of translating the gender commitments to financial recommendations, recognizing gender equality and other aspects of gender budgeting were discussed. She emphasized the lack of allocation of funds to public healthcare, specifically to women, children and marginalized sections of the society.
Dr. B. L. Biju expressed that the budget is the reflection of power dynamics in the society. He said the common sense logic of family budget cannot be applied to a National budget with reference to deficit budgeting. He drew attention to the importance of informal sector and the lack of study and analysis of labour costs involved in GDP calculation. He also pointed to the drastic decline of funds for social sector schemes in the budget.
During the interactive session with the students, the questions were centered on fiscal deficit, black money, allocations to social sector and taxation system.
By the Research Scholars of SoE