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What Rajkumar Hirani, Amrita Rao think of the Budget

Last updated on: February 27, 2010 15:07 IST

What Rajkumar Hirani, Amrita Rao think of the Budget

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BS Reporter in Mumbai

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday presented a please-all Budget, that broadly focused on fiscal stabilisation.

So what do the glitterati think of the finance minister's delicate balancing act? Here are seven famous voices:

Rajkumar Hirani

What do you think of the Budget?

The Budget has ignored the entertainment industry entirely. Films and television constitute an important industry and contribute significantly to the national exchequer. But, its concerns have yet again not been addressed.

Have your expectations of the Budget been met?

As far as my industry is concerned, no. However, the hike in TDS exemption and the subsequent increase in disposable incomes will only bring relief to the common man and the growing working classes in India.

Any particular concern?

As directors and filmmakers, we are always looking for ways to bring down production costs. However, there is nothing in the Budget to aid this. Also, I believe that a service tax has been levied on assigning the copyrights of the film, music or any other IPR, which will be an added expense.

How has the Budget affected you personally?

Any Budget should look at overall growth of the country. In that respect, this year's Budget is extremely positive and optimistic. Overall, it's been an impactful Budget, one that looks at growth of the nation.

Raj Kumar Hirani, film director.


Image: Raj Kumar Hirani, film director.

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Amrita Rao

What do you think of the Budget?

This Budget is an important milestone in restoring India on the 9 per cent growth path. The changes in income tax slabs are welcome. The budget is expenditure-driven given the need to provide a push to consumption.

What were your expectations?

I was hoping the middle class and the masses would benefit from the Budget. There should be a long-term strategy for inflation control instead of stop-gap arrangements.

Have these expectations been met?

Yes. The Budget is encouraging due to its focus on infrastructure, education, agriculture, irrigation and social security schemes.

Any particular concern?

The government needs to strengthen its delivery mechanism. Inflation in basic necessities is a concern as it affects rich and poor alike. Despite the Rs 22,300-crore allocation for health care, more could've been done.

How has the Budget affected you personally?

I will definitely think twice before spending on any luxuries. The price escalation of cars, TVs, ACs, jewellery, etc will also have an adverse impact.

Amrita Rao, actress.


Image: Amrita Rao, actress.

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What Rajkumar Hirani, Amrita Rao think of the Budget

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Prasoon Joshi

What do you think of the Budget?

Overall, I think the Budget has the right intentions and attempts to push things towards a strengthened economy.

What were your expectations?

From a citizen's point of view, an emphasis on sectors like infrastructure and rural development, on issues like divestment and addressing the fiscal deficit. And from a personal and general point of view, rising inflation.

Have these expectations been met?

Personally, the reduction in income tax surcharge, and from a corporate perspective, the move not to increase service tax, are a big relief. The target outlays for infrastructure, divestment and fiscal management do seem challenging. Let's see how well it pans out.

Any particular concern?

The impact of the fuel price increase is bound to be felt across segments.

How has the Budget affected you personally?

In my kind of business, I tend to see things from a demand generation perspective. By giving income tax relief and increasing planned expansions for rural India , I see enough being done for demand generation and I am happy about that.

Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann Erickson.


Image: Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann Erickson.

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What Rajkumar Hirani, Amrita Rao think of the Budget

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Rajeev Khandelwal

What do you think of the Budget?

The Budget should be pro common man and look at the overall development of the country.

What were your expectations?

I wish the finance minister had mentioned something about privatising sick PSUs. I don't think the Budget had anything on it though I'm sure it will be talked of in the coming days.

Have these expectations been met?

As far as infrastructure and development of the nation is concerned, yes, the Budget has been positive. I'm happy that the school education outlay is Rs 31,000 crore. I'm also very happy that there are programmes for senior citizens, physically and mentally challenged and other backward sections of society.

Any particular concern?

Not really. In fact, I'm glad that the tax exemption limit has been increased to Rs 1.6 lakh. This means that there will be more purchasing power to the people.

How has the Budget affected you personally?

Though cars have become more expensive, I don't have a problem because we need to tackle pollution anyway.

I need better roads to drive my SUV.

Rajeev Khandelwal, actor..


Image: Rajeev Khandelwal, actor..

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Arun Vadehra

What do you think of the Budget?

The budget is an amazing one for the the all-inclusive growth of the country. There's a very clear road map to cut the country's financial deficit over the next three years. Sectors such as education, healthcare, social security have also been addressed in an extremely positive manner. The decrease in the personal income tax rate will give an impetus to consumer demand.

What were your expectations?

I had two primarily. One, the customs duty of 15-17 per cent on works of art. If I buy a Husain painting abroad, I don't see why I have to pay customs duty to reunite it with India. And two, VAT. Art works attract VAT all over the country except in West Bengal where it is classed as "handicraft", which is how it should be since art is made by hand.

Have these expectations been met?

None of these concerns have been met because the art industry, especially the entrepreneurial side is confined to three-four people who don't go to the finance ministry and lobby the way the cement or transport industries do.

How has the Budget affected you personally?

Personally it has pleased me as the income tax rate has been reduced.

Arun Vadehra, Vadehra Art Gallery.


Image: Arun Vadehra, Vadehra Art Gallery.

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Ravi Singh

What do you think of the Budget?

The issue of energy consumption is being tackled by the government and the Budget is an expression of its financial intent. The clean energy fund proposed in the Budget has been talked about by NGOs and civil society. It is welcome as it is a direct investment.

What were your expectations?

The government currently spends a large amount of money on wildlife management. But funds are required for relocating villages in critical animal habitats. The sum allotted for this is currently Rs 1,200 crore.

Have these expectations been met?

The sum required for relocation of villages in wildlife areas is estimated at Rs 2,500 crore.

Any particular concern?

Infrastructure, especially the building of new roads and widening of existing ones, should not impinge on existing forests. For example, the expansion of NH-7 will bisect the largest tiger habitat in the world, Pench-Kanha.

How has the Budget affected you personally?

The allocation for cleaning the Ganga is good. Water is an important issue and the government taking steps to improve its quality is good for all.

Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India.


Image: Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India.

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Puja Marwaha

What do you think of the Budget?

The hike in allocations to women and child development schemes, and the creation of a Rs 1,000-crore National Social Security Fund are welcome.

What were your expectations?

We expected all-out support for free, good quality health and education. Although the allocation for primary education has been raised from Rs 26,800 crore to Rs 31,300 crore, we need a minimum investment of Rs 71,000 crore for elementary education.

Have these expectations been met?

We are still far below our requirement of funds in education. India allocates around 3 per cent of the GDP for education and around 1 per cent for health as compared to countries like the US, UK and France which spend 6-7 per cent of their national budgets for public education and health.

How has the Budget affected you personally?

The Right to Education Act has still a long way to go to provide free, quality education to every child in the country and this affects every parent, including me.

In the absence of public education, parents are forced to spend on it, despite living in a country where education is a right.

Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY India.


Image: Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY India.

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