what is it that''s top of the mind of India Inc before
Budget 2007 is unveiled?
Godrej, managing director, Godrej Industries, is a bit
concerned on reforms in the indirect tax system, while
lack of human capital is bothering Nandan Nilekani,
MD and CEO, Infosys. And who better to resolve their
worries than the finance minister himself.
these industry giants put forth their queries to the
FM on the occasion of the inaugural of the TV-18 media
centre at the National Stocks Exchange in Mumbai.
said that the lack of human capital in the times ahead
remains a huge concern. "It will be human capital
infrastructure which will actually be the bottleneck
as we run into shortages in all industries. National
Knowledge Commission, of which I am a part, has submitted
its higher education reforms last week to the prime
minister. So I was wondering what would be the focus
on increasing the allocation for higher education and
creating the environment where more Indians can get
education to get the job there are going to be there?"
FM responded that for the time being it is difficult
to spell out any numbers, and a huge amount of funds
will have to be raised for this particular issue.
allocation is one thing, but the capacity to use those
funds and expand rapidly is yet another challenge. I
think the Moily Committee report and the expansion of
opportunities in situations of higher learning to accommodate
the backward classes, schedule caste and schedule tribes.
There is also the Knowledge Commission Report with its
proposal to allow many more universities in the country.
All this, of course, will require large amount of funds.
Once the funds are provided, we must have the capacity
to roll out the expansion in as short a timeframe as
possible; I think there are twin challenges," he
on the other hand voiced his concern on whether there
is further opportunity for accelerating the growth rate
to an early reform of the indirect tax system. He questioned
whether there would be a one goods and services tax
estimate in early date, so that a win-win situation
is created - a virtuous cycle of lower prices, higher
consumption and higher revenues?
FM stated that this was a ''three-stage process''. "The
first was VAT. We have successfully rolled out VAT throughout
the country except in one recalcitrant state. The second
step is to phase out CST. On that we have a consensus,
but the details have to be worked out. The third step
is GST, and for that the date is 1 April, 2010,"
also stressed on the need to increase the pace of judicial
reform and the speed at which judicial decisions are
taken, he said that India only has about 13 judges per
million. "So how would the government look into
increasing allocations to strengthen the judiciary?"
today''s compensation levels, not many top-notch lawyers
would like to become judges. I think there is a constraint
in the supply
side also. We need to look at compensation packages
for judges at all levels and attract the best talent,
otherwise we would have first-rate lawyers but not first-rate
judges," said Chidambram.