The finance minister has told merchant bankers and financial sector experts that the government intends to take policy actions in the Budget to deepen the financial markets and increase confidence among retail investors to invest in them.
Arun Jaitley met 14 financial leaders for a closed door meeting on Saturday in Mumbai, his first visit to the city after assuming charge as finance minister.
He preferred to listen to the concerns and changes desired by the leaders of the Indian financial industry and provided three minutes each to the 14 invitees to present their thoughts.
The list included the likes of SK Roy of Life Insurance Corporation of India, Ashishkumar Chauhan of BSE, Chitra Ramkrishna of NSE, Nimesh Kampani of JM Financial, Kalpana Morparia of JP Morgan, Nilesh Shah of Axis Capital, Anup Bagchi of ICICI Securities and Sanjay Nayyar of private equity firm KKR among others.
Before inviting comments from the industry leaders at the meeting held at the Gateway Room of the Taj Mahal Palace, the finance secretary, Arvind Mayaram said that the government’s concern was the absence of retail investors from the financial markets thereby throwing a hint at the industry players and indicating that steps may be in the offing to bring in retail investors into the market.
The two-hour meeting from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm saw all the leaders bring up the issues to the fore.
While the LIC chairman highlighted the fact that the insurer has limited options for investment as there are only 30-50 companies where LIC can invest, Kampani told the minister that action needs to be taken on the retrospective taxation issue concerning Vodafone. It is understood that the issue has had an impact on the attractiveness of foreign direct investment in the country.
Kampani also highlighted the issue of subsidy burden on petroleum companies and said that it was hurting the interest of the minority shareholders.
He also proposed to stop printing the Rs 1,000 currency note.
Kalpana Morparia called for stability in the transfer pricing margin and expressed her concerns on some issues relating to the new Companies Act.
Nilesh Shah pitched for the revival of the financial intermediaries and distribution fraternity that hold the key for deeper penetration of the financial products. He also called for reverse Build-Operate-Transfer system to be adopted by the government for infrastructure projects where the completed projects can be handed over to the private players and the government can itself carry out the new projects.
Anup Bagchi called for recycling of capital while Sanjay Nayyar said that domestic investors need to be encouraged to participate in the markets. There were even proposals to bring down the time taken to conclude an IPO.
‘No sops in first Budget’
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said the first Budget of the BJP-led government will not cater to populist measures. “It is better that in the first few days we avoid transient or temporary steps and instead make ourselves more comfortable some years later,” he said at a book release function held at the Prime Minister’s residence on Sunday.