Union Budget 2018: Industry and corporate bodies have started putting forward their expectations for the upcoming Union Budget 2018. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD of Bengaluru-based Biocon, has revealed her wishlist for the Modi government’s last full-fledged budget. She has a few expectations from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget 2018. She said that central government should go for significant investment in science and technology. “Today, Department of Science and Technology shared disturbing data that we have reached a status quo when it comes to investment in science and technology that remains static at 0.69% of GDP,” Mazumdar Shaw said while talking about her Budget 2018 expectations. Apart from this, she said she would like to see greater spend in healthcare citing that the sector is stagnated at below 1% GDP levels. “For a country like India that is trying to aim to deliver universal healthcare we will need to treble this investment in healthcare,” Mazumdar Shaw said.
Last year she had termed the budget 2017 presented by FM Arun Jaitley as ‘safe’ and ‘balanced’. Mazumdar Shaw, however, had stated that it could have been ‘bolder’. She had even rated the budget “overall a 7/10”. Terming allocations for rural development, affordable housing, agriculture and infrastructure sectors as “good”, she said “some incentives for MSMEs, but Corporate Tax reduction linked to job creation and investments was missing which would have spurred much needed private sector investment.” She also lauded removal of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and said it is a good move as it will ease foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow. Mazumdar Shaw said, however, push for digital payments and electoral bonds is a good step to clean up political funding. She said the investment in rural digital infrastructure is a positive move towards digital India.
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The Budget Session of Parliament is set to commence on January 29 and the Union Budget for 2018-19 will be presented on February 1. President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of the two Houses on January 29 and the Economic Survey will be tabled on the same day, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar had a few days ago. The first phase of the session will be from January 29 to February 9. After a recess, Parliament will meet again from March 5 to April 6, Kumar said, soon after the end of the Winter Session.
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The recommendation for the Budget Session dates was made by the CCPA headed by home minister Rajnath Singh which met in New Delhi. There would be a recess between the session so that the department-related standing committees can clear the budgetary proposals related to their respective ministries.